Mexico’s Pacific coast braces for the onslaught of Hurricane Patricia, potentially the strongest storm to ever hit the Western Hemisphere. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
Hurricane Patricia nears Mexico’s waterfront
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
STORY: Hurricane Patricia strengthened into one of the most powerful storms in history on Friday (October 23) as it barreled toward Mexico’s Pacific Coast, forcing resort hotels to evacuate guests and residents to stockpile supplies.
The National Hurricane Center said Patricia was the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere, and on a par with Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, which ravaged the Philippines, killing thousands.
Loudspeakers along the shore of the resort of Puerto Vallarta blared orders to evacuate hotels as a light rain fell and a slight breeze ruffled palm trees. The streets emptied as police sirens wailed.
The city’s airport was closed on Friday morning. Local schools were also closed and some business owners were busy boarding and taping up windows.
The storm grew at an “incredible rate” in the past 12 hours, the World Meteorological Organization said, becoming a hurricane overnight with maximum sustained winds of about 200 miles per hour (325 km per hour) as it moved toward the north-northwest at 12 mph (19 kph).
Typhoon Haiyan killed more than 6,300 people and wiped out or damaged practically everything in its path as it swept ashore on Nov. 8, 2013, destroying around 90 percent of the city of Tacloban.
The strongest storm ever recorded was Cyclone Tip which hit Japan in 1979.
Patricia was last located about 145 miles (235 km) south-southwest of the port of Manzanillo, where a hurricane warning had been issued. A hurricane warning was also in effect for the beach resort of Puerto Vallarta.
It is a Category 5 hurricane, the highest rating possible, and was expected to make landfall as an “extremely dangerous” storm on Friday afternoon or evening, the Miami-based hurricane center said earlier.