Hurricane Patricia slams into Mexico's Pacific Coast

Oct 23, 2015 8:17 PM by CBS/AP

PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico -- The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Hurricane Patricia has made landfall on Mexico's southwestern Pacific Coast.

The center said the Category 5 storm had estimated winds of 165 mph when it touched land near Cuixmala, about 55 miles west-northwest of the port city of Manzanillo.

Forecasters say the storm is capable of "potentially catastrophic" damage. CBS News reporter Adrienne Bard reported the storm could drop 15 inches of rain in the next 24 hours, and trigger waves of up to 30 feet along the coast. Forecasters were also concerned about life-threatening mudslides in the rugged Sierra Madre mountains.

Officials declared a state of emergency in dozens of municipalities in Colima, Nayarit and Jalisco states and warned residents to evacuate. Shelters were set up to hold 240,000 people.

Asked if enough has been done to prepare, a Mexican official told Bard said all protocols for prevention were followed, but admitted they don't know how well the roads, bridges and power installations will hold up.

Roberto Ramirez, the director of Mexico's National Water Commission, which includes the nation's meteorological service, said that Hurricane Patricia will be powerful enough to lift up automobiles, destroy homes that are not sturdily built with cement and steel and will be able to drag along people caught outside when the storm strikes.

Ramirez said that the people in the most danger from the hurricane will be those on the coast, especially in the state of Jalisco.


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