Record-breaking Patricia reduced to Category 1, residents and tourists await safety in shelters

World

Record-breaking Patricia reduced to Category 1, residents and tourists await safety in shelters

One of the strongest hurricanes in history lashed western Mexico with wind and rain early on Saturday, sowing chaos in coastal towns and popular tourist resorts although early reports showed it causing less damage than feared. Mowing down trees, flooding streets and battering buildings, Hurricane Patricia ploughed into Mexico as a Category 5 storm on Friday before dropping to a Category 1 storm as it crosses Mexico. The storm’s maximum sustained winds early Saturday had decreased to near 75 mph with rapid weakening expected to continue.

The first reports confirm that the damage has been less than those expected from a hurricane of this magnitude.

President Enrique Pena Nieto

Thousands of residents and tourists ended up in hastily improvised shelters but there were no early reports of fatalities and many felt they had escaped lightly. Around 15,000 tourists were hurriedly evacuated from the beach resort of Puerto Vallarta as people scrambled to get away from the advancing hurricane, whose massive swirl over Mexico could be seen clearly from space. President Pena Nieto is still urging residents and tourists to stay in shelters, however, warning that Patricia still poses a threat, with heavy rain expected across the Pacific coast as well as central and northeastern Mexico.

Everyone is starting to perk up a little bit but still kind of on edge waiting to see what’s going to happen with the storm.

Brandie Galle of Grants Pass, Oregon