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the big one

Mexico is bracing for the most dangerous hurricane EVER, tonight

The Category 5 Hurricane Patricia is expected to bring 200 mph winds, and potentially catastrophic rainfall.

Mexico Tropical Weather Associated Press Associated Press

SUPER-STORM PATRICIA is swirling toward Mexico’s Pacific coast tonight – the strongest hurricane on record, sending residents and authorities scrambling to prepare for a potentially catastrophic impact.

Authorities relocated some villagers, closed ports and schools in several states, and evacuated tourists from beach hotels as the hurricane headed toward shore in the western state of Jalisco later today.

Patricia ”is the most dangerous (hurricane ever) recorded in the world,” President Enrique Pena Nieto wrote on Twitter.

“The country faces a threat of great scale,” Pena Nieto said, adding that the government’s priority is to “protect and save the lives of Mexicans.”

The head of Mexico’s National Water Commission, Roberto Ramirez said the hurricane was expected to make landfall at around 5-6 pm (10-11 pm Irish time).

Rain pelted the coast after Patricia mushroomed yesterday into a Category Five storm -the top of the Saffir-Simpson scale – with maximum sustained winds of 200 mph (325 kmph), according to the US National Hurricane Center.

This animation shows the terrifying course of the massive storm along the Pacific coast, between 1 pm and 7 pm Irish time, today.

wv_lalo-animated US National Hurricane Centre US National Hurricane Centre

Stores shut down in the beach resort of Puerto Vallarta and shop owners placed duct tape in the shape of an X on their windows to protect them.

“I’ve had to give away tape to people who weren’t prepared,” said Ramiro Arias, owner of a frame shop. “We’re procrastinators. We don’t react until we see the situation.”

Some 7,000 foreign and 21,000 Mexican tourists were in Puerto Vallarta ahead of the storm, said Jalisco state tourism secretary Enrique Ramos Flores.

The seafront hotels were evacuated and an unknown number of tourists were taken to shelters, the airport and bus stations, he said.

Despite the incoming storm, a swimmer was spotted in the water in the morning.

A handful of people waited at a bus station before service ended at midday while others bought water and loaded vehicles with jerrycans of fuel.

The center said on its website that Patricia was the strongest hurricane it has ever recorded in either Atlantic or eastern North Pacific waters.

Confidence is high that Patricia will make landfall in the hurricane warning area along the coast of Mexico as an extremely dangerous category 5 hurricane this afternoon or evening.
Preparations to protect life and property in the hurricane warning area should have been completed, or rushed to completion, as tropical storm conditions are spreading across the area.
In addition to the coastal impacts, very heavy rainfall is likely to cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides in the Mexican states of Jalisco, Colima, Michoacan and Guerrero continuing into Saturday.

Mexico Tropical Weather A worker boards up the front of a waterfront business in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Associated Press Associated Press

Mexico’s National Water Commission said Patricia was “so big and intense” that it could cross the entire country, dip into the Gulf of Mexico, and make landfall in the United States.

Jalisco, Michoacan, Colima and Nayarit are expected to get the equivalent of 40 percent of their annual rainfall in the next 48 hours, the Commission added.

Mexico faces the double threat of Atlantic and Pacific tropical storms during the hurricane season, which ends 30 November 30.

In 2013, twin storms Ingrid and Manuel nearly simultaneously struck each coast, leaving 157 people dead in a rare double onslaught.

Contains reporting by AFP.

Read: Is Hurricane Joaquin heading to Ireland?>

Read: Nine dead after violent storm swept across Europe>

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