Hurricane Patricia, the strongest hurricane ever recorded, has slammed into Mexico’s Pacific Coast, threatening coastal areas with potentially catastrophic winds and rainfall.
Officials had warned of “potential catastrophic” consequences but early signs were positive as Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said the hurricane had caused less damage than feared.
The strengthening winds on Friday prompted the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents and tourists and a rush for emergency supplies.
Thousands of Mexicans have sought shelter in schools, public buildings and with relatives as the storm struck. The federal government is expected to distribute 390,000 tons of food in four states.
The president urged the thousands evacuated to stay in shelters until the hurricane passes.
Ramping up their warnings as the storm drew closer, Mexican officials said the unprecedented hurricane could wreak catastrophic damage.
Patricia, while still potentially deadly, falls short of the highest winds ever recorded at landfall. Typhoon Haiyan had winds of 195 mph as it slammed into the Philippines in November 2013, leaving more than 7,300 people dead or missing, primarily from its massive 15- to 19-foot storm surge.