Potentially catastrophic hurricane takes aim at Mexico

Category 5 Hurricane Patricia churns towards Mexican coast, packing maximum sustained winds of more than 250km/h.

    Potentially catastrophic hurricane takes aim at Mexico
    Mexican emergency officials began to prepare shelters and declared a state of emergency for 56 municipalities [Reuters]

    Hurricane Patricia has strengthened into an "extremely dangerous" Category 5 storm as it churns towards Mexico's Pacific coast, the United States National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

    The storm, which became a hurricane on Thursday night, had maximum sustained winds of 260km/h as it moved towards the northwest at just under 20km/h.

    Patricia was last located about 320km southwest of the port of Manzanillo, where a hurricane warning had been issued. A hurricane warning was also in effect for the tourist resort of Puerto Vallarta.

    The storm could gain more strength before making landfall in the hurricane warning area by Friday afternoon or evening, the Miami-based hurricane centre said.

    The US government issued an advisory urging its nationals to steer clear of beaches and rough seas, and to take shelter as instructed by Mexican officials.

    Mexican emergency officials began to prepare shelters and declared a state of emergency for 56 municipalities in the storm's projected path, in the states of Colima, Nayarit and Jalisco.

    A hurricane warning was in effect for the Mexican coast from San Blas to Punta San Telmo. A broader area was under hurricane watch, tropical storm warning, or tropical storm watch.

    The NHC warned that preparations should be rushed to completion, saying the storm could cause coastal flooding, destructive waves and flash floods.


    RELATED: Al Jazeera's comprehensive weather coverage


    "This is an extremely dangerous, potentially catastrophic hurricane," meteorologist Dennis Feltgen said.

    Feltgen said Patricia also poses problems for Texas. Forecast models indicate that after the storm breaks up over land, remnants of its tropical moisture will likely combine with and contribute to heavy rainfall that is already soaking Texas independently of the hurricane, he said.

    "It's only going to make a bad situation worse," he said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    Al Jazeera examines three weeks of war from which both Arabs and Israelis claimed to emerge victorious.