Hurricane Patricia
Residents protect themselves from the rain outside a bus station in Guadalajara, Mexico October 23, 2015. Hurricane Patricia, one of the most powerful storms on record, struck Mexico's Pacific coast on Friday with destructive winds that tore down trees, moved cars and forced thousands of people to flee homes and beachfront resorts. With winds of 160 miles per hour (266 km per hour), the Category 5 hurricane had western Mexico on high alert, with the popular resort of Puerto Vallarta and others on the coast opening emergency shelters as hotels were closed. Reuters/Edgard Garrido

Thousands fled their beachfront homes as strong winds estimated to be 270 kmph struck Mexico’s Pacific coast on Friday. Hurricane Patricia, one of the strongest and the most formidable storms in the Western Hemisphere, uprooted trees and dragged cars along the streets as it hit the coastline between 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. AEST.

Puerto Vallarta, which is a popular tourist spot, had to be evacuated immediately as the storm slammed into the nearby coastline. Around 15,000 tourists were evacuated to avoid the 266 kmph winds blowing over the region. They were either moved inland or transferred to emergency camps as the strongest ever storm in the Western Hemisphere prepared to rummage the region. Before the storm made a landfall on the coast it assumed a strength of 325 kmph.

The storm has weakenen to a category 4 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center, but still cannot be considered to have reached a safe level. The winds still run strong with maximum sustained speeds of 130 mph.

Authorities received reports of flooding and landslides as a result of the storm that broke into Punta Perula, located between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo. The storm was declared a category 5 hurricane when it first struck land.

Even before the storm hit the land, experts had warned authorities that it could assume a strength to move around cars and even fling them off the ground. Transportation Secretary Gerardo Ruiz Esparza said that arrangements were being made to brace for the storm and nothing is being ruled out.

"We are facing a natural phenomenon, a force that we have never seen before," President Enrique Pena Nieto told Radio Formula earlier in the day. "We will face difficult moments."

Following heavy rains and storms, local news channels flashed images of flooded streets and grubbed up trees but there have been no initial reports of any major damage or casualty.

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