The strongest hurricane/cyclone/typhoon ever recorded is heading for Mexico’s Pacific coast, threatening a ‘potentially catastrophic’ landfall.
The World Meteorological Organization says the storm is possibly greater in strength to Typhoon Haiyan, which killed 6,300 people in the Philippines in 2013.
The category five hurricane is expected to make landfall on Friday afternoon or evening, with winds of 325km/h (200mph).
The US National Hurricane Center said on its website: ‘Potentially catastrophic Hurricane Patricia moving northward toward landfall in south-western Mexico.
At last report the eye of Hurricane Patricia was about 85 miles (135 kilometers) southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico, (north of Acapulco and south of Puerto Vallarta and was moving north at 10 mph (16 kph).
Hurricane Patricia now holds the record for lowest pressure in any hurricane on record. With a minimum central pressure of 879 millibars (25.96 inches of mercury).
Patricia broke the record of 882 millibars set by Wilma almost exactly 10 years ago.
A storm surge of up to 30 feet (9 metres) is expected and 50,000 people are being evacuated from what is a sparsely populated coastal area.
The National Hurricane Center reports Patricia made landfall at 6:15 p.m. (7:15 p.m. ET) along the southwestern Mexican coast near Cuixmala. Maximum sustained winds at landfall were estimated at 165 mph.