The most powerful hurricane ever to occur in the western hemisphere has struck the Pacific coast of Mexico.
Hurricane Patricia crossed over the cost of Jalisco state early on Friday evening, and is now moving northeastward inland over northern Mexico.
Shortly after midnight, its wind speed reached an unprecedented 200mph according to the US National Hurricane Center, making it the strongest hurricane ever recorded. It was also rated it as a category five tropical storm – the most dangerous kind. It has since downgraded it to a category two storm, but it still poses a threat.
Tropical storm conditions are expected to continue across portions of the warning area and over inland areas, especially in higher elevations, near the centre through this morning.
Enrique Pena Nieto, President of Mexico, said in a public address late on Friday that the damage had been “less than those expected from a hurricane of this magnitude”, but added “we cannot let our guard down”.
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Mexico's National Disaster Fund estimates that around 400,000 people live in areas that are vulnerable to the storm, which include the states of Nayarit, Jalisco, Colima, Michoacan and Guerrero.
In addition to strong winds, there are risks of coastal storm surges, heavy rain and landslides as a result of the hurricane.
“These rains are likely to produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides,” the US National hurricane Centre said. “During the past 24 hours, a rainfall total of 260 mm has been reported at Nevado De Colima in Jalisco state.”