The biggest, most dangerous hurricane ever recorded is currently hurling towards Mexico's Pacific coast. Meteorologists predict that the Category 5 storm, which reached an unprecedented sustained wind speed of 200 mph on Friday morning, will bring potentially catastrophic damage to the areas in its menacing path. Mexican authorities have declared a state of emergency in 56 municipalities in these coastal areas, and already, tens of thousands of people have evacuated to safety. But where which Mexican states will Hurricane Patricia hit exactly? It looks like the three main ones will be Colima, Nayarit and Jalisco.
According to Vallarta Daily, as many as 50,000 people will leave their homes behind by Friday afternoon to relocate to shelters. As the coastal states prepare for what National Hurricane Center meteorologist Dennis Feltgen called an "extremely dangerous, potentially catastrophic hurricane," residents are stocking up on supplies, tourists are being evacuated from resorts, flights are being canceled, and the ill are being advised to stay inside if their condition is not life-threatening. The National Hurricane Center urged residents to complete their preparations as soon as possible, as landfall is now quickly approaching.
According to The Weather Channel, only one previous Category 5 storm has ever made landfall on Mexico's Pacific coast, and it traveled a similar path to Hurricane Patricia. That was in 1959 and it killed about 1,800 people, so it's really no joke. If you are in or near one of these three states, please follow your local authorities' instruction for getting to safety.
With a population of 7.5 million people, Jalisco is comparable in density to New York City. Its capital city is Guadalajara, which is the second-most populous metropolis in all of Mexico. Its most notable city, however, is the popular beach resort destination of Puerto Vallarta, which has a population of 255,000 and sees millions of tourists a year. On Friday morning, guests in resorts received advisories and instructions on how to evacuate.
While Colima is a smaller state with the second-lowest population in Mexico, it is home to Manzanillo, which contains the busiest port in the country that is responsible for distributing cargo to the Mexico City area. Manzanillo is a crucial business municipality for the state of Comila, which means any damage to the port could mean severe and long-lasting economic effects. The city also has a population of 161,000 people.
Residents who live near Colima's Volcano of Fire are also concerned that ash will mix with water to form landslides.
The third state that sits in Patricia's projected path is Nayarit, which is home to San Blas's beaches, another popular tourist destination. San Blas is a notable surf spot and its Playa de Matanchen is even in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the longest surfable wave, so Hurricane Patricia will almost certainly cause immense swells in the waters there. Nayarit contains 19 other municipalities and has a population of just over a million people.