Hurricane Patricia Flooding, Landslides. Amazing Videos -- Mexican President: “If there were a Category 6 for hurricanes, this would be a category six"
Hurricane Patricia has toppled trees and lampposts, cut electric power, is flooding and triggered landslides after powerful hurricane made landfall as a Category 5 in a relatively unpopulated stretch of the Pacific coast. Evacuees are crowded, using shelters’ halls in Jalisco where over 6,000 people are bunking down for the night.
Authorities said air transport was being readied to perform search and rescue operations in the morning.
“It’ll take some time for the winds to spin down,” said Dennis Feltgen, spokesman for the National Hurricane Center. “Don’t get fooled. Right now this is a very dangerous hurricane. It’s not gone. It’s just inland.”
“Do not go outside. Protect yourselves and follow instructions from the Civil Protection. I am thinking of you all,” Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto Tweeted.
[Watch Patricia making landfall near Tenacatita]
Tens of thousands of people up and down the coast were evacuated into shelters and out of the danger zone. Some left on government-provided flights and ground transportation, while others piled into cars and local buses.
“Everything in the street, such as cars, are going to turn into projectiles, so it’s very important that people seek shelter,” said Ricardo de la Cruz, director of civilian protection.
Road travel to get provisions to isolated areas is obviously hazardous, as caught on video in Manzanillo shortly ago, showing a semi-trailer flipping on the street in Patricia’s violent wind.
Patricia’s is heading over a mountainous region dotted with isolated hamlets also at risk of mudslides and flash floods.
“If there were a Category 6 for hurricanes, this would be a category six,” said Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. “It’s a hurricane that hasn’t been seen before, not just in Mexico, not just in the United States. It has wind speeds that are greater than the most intense, strongest hurricanes ever recorded on the planet.”
Nieto said the entirety of the federal government was responding to the storm, working with state and local officials to coordinate evacuations and position emergency personnel to respond. He told Mexicans there will difficult days ahead and urged them to follow the instructions of local authorities.
Residents and tourists hunkered down in shelters and homes across a coastal stretch dotted with sleepy fishing villages and gleaming resorts, including Manzanillo and the popular beach city of Puerto Vallarta.
In Puerto Vallarta, residents had reinforced homes with sandbags and shop windows with boards and tape, and hotels rolled up beachfront restaurants.
At a Red Cross shelter, some 90 people waited anxiously in the heavy, humid air, including senior citizens in wheelchairs and young children snuggled between their parents on mattresses on the floor. The Red Cross in Mexico is not partnered with America’s FEMA, so still operates humanely.
Carla Torres and her family sought refuge there in the afternoon, fearful of what Patricia might do to her home just two blocks from a river in an area vulnerable to high winds.
“Here we are with those who can give us help,” Torres said.
Catholic Charities is also on the ground, providing relief services.