In the past 24 hours Hurricane Patricia, bearing down on Mexico’s west coast, has rapidly intensified to become the strongest storm ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere. As of this morning, data from Air Force planes show peak winds (sustained for one minute) of 200 mph.
On Friday morning the National Hurricane Center said Patricia’s winds could rise to 205 mph as it hits Mexico’s shores, which would be the highest landfall reading ever, worldwide. If hurricane categories didn’t stop at 5, Patricia would actually be closer to the scale of a 7.
Hurricane Patricia will make landfall somewhere on the coast of Jalisco state — which includes the tourist hotspot of Puerto Vallarta and is also close to Manzanillo and Colima — between 5 and 6 p.m. CT (6 and 7 p.m. ET). But its impact should be felt much sooner, with 100 kph (62 mph) winds lashing the region in the early afternoon.
Mexico has declared a state of emergency and evacuations are underway. The government warned locals to prepare themselves for torrential rainfall, flooding and mudslides. Observers are expecting the states of Jalisco, Colima, Michoacan and Guerrero to be especially hard-hit.
“This is really, really, really strong,” WMO spokeswoman Clare Nullis told a UN briefing in Geneva on Friday, adding that “the winds are enough to get a plane in the air and keep it flying.”
Colima – about 100 miles south of Puerto Vallarta
Guadalahara – About 100 miles east (inland) from Puerta Vallarta
Ixtapa Guerrero – 430 miles south from Puerta Vallarta
Video from Tenacatita, Jalisco
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Video from Peurta Vallarta
— ⚫ Scheußlich (@SantillanInc) October 23, 2015
Footage recorded by Manzanillo resident Antonio Escobedo