Powerful Patricia Alarms Mexicans, Relatives

Many are hoping Hurricane Patricia is not going to be as extreme as predicted

Hurricane Patricia, considered to be the strongest hurricane ever measured in the Western Hemisphere, made landfall just west of Manzanillo, according to The Weather Channel.

The Hurricane Center said Patricia was expected to remain an "extremely dangerous" Category 5 hurricane through late afternoon or evening, before weakening over the inland mountains.

By Friday it was the most powerful hurricane on record in the region with maximum sustained winds near 200 mph, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Alaska Airlines announced it is canceling all its flights into Puerto Vallarta Saturday, including one from San Diego.

Virginia native Melissa Woo lives and works in Puerto Vallarta. Her home, in a gated community on a golf course, is located just about a mile or two from the coastline.

“A storm this size, nobody knows what to expect. There is no history to compare it to,” Woo said.

She and her boyfriend plan to camp out in the bathroom for the night with their two dogs.

They tried to prepare but were unable to purchase a generator or plywood for their floor-to-ceiling windows that are more than 10 feet tall.

She said they have moved furniture in front of the windows.

“It’s nerve wracking for sure,” she said. “I think we’re all just hoping for the best and hoping somehow this is not going to be extreme as it seems to be.”

They have enough food and water for approximately three weeks.

The government planned to cut electricity off as of 12 p.m. PT, she said.

Woo works at a popular resort in the area where guests have been evacuated from their rooms and put up in a parking garage in places where there are no windows.

“Puerto Vallarta is doing the best that they can at this point,” she said.

Antonia Lizarraga from Puerto Vallarta spoke with NBC 7 around 12:30 p.m. PT Friday and said conditions were calm.

“It’s just raining right now. No wind,” Lizarraga said. “We’re just waiting.”

They taped up the windows and are planning on moving mattresses in front of their big glass windows.

“We’re not planning to go out. We have a lot of water and tuna mostly,” she said.

She was with several members of her family and was texting with other family members and friends in Guadalajara and Mazatlan.

She said the type of damage that’s being predicted would be devastating to her community that’s dependent on tourism dollars to survive.

Tijuana resident Carlos de Regules was in Ocotlan, Jalisco Friday working on a construction project. He said there was constant rain overnight with the heaviest rainfall occurring in the moring morning.

He said he felt safe where he was - approximately 240 miles inland from Puerto Vallarta - until he started hearing from people in areas outside of Jalisco.

“I was feeling safe in the morning but not so much right now,” he said.

Patricia formed suddenly Tuesday evening as a tropical storm, turned into a hurricane just over a day later.

By Friday it was the most powerful hurricane on record in the region with maximum sustained winds near 200 mph, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.

De Regules said the military is telling residents in Jalisco that the storm will destroy everything in the area.

“Here on the job site we have a lot of tall buildings,” he said. “Supposedly the winds will be 200 or more than 200 mph.”

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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