Mexican Mountains Shred Hurricane Patricia

Hurricane Patricia marauded onto Mexico’s West Coast on Friday night as the most powerful hurricane in the Western Hemisphere had ever seen.

The carried lashing rains, surging seas and cyclonic winds with what forecasters called a potential to cause “catastrophic” damage. The storm’s center made landfall near Cuixmala, about 55 miles west-northwest of the port city of Manzanillo. Record wind speeds measured earlier in the day had fallen off somewhat to 165 mph the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said, but Patricia was still an extremely dangerous Category 5 storm.

Residents and tourists hunkered down in shelters and homes across a stretch of Pacific coastline dotted with sleepy fishing villages and gleaming resorts, including Manzanillo and the popular beach city of Puerto Vallarta. Patricia’s projected path was expected to quickly take it over mountainous terrain that is prone to dangerous flash floods and landslides.

However, the storm ranged inland quickly and met stiff resistance in the form of Mexico’s mountains. Patricia quickly lost steam and is heading off of Mexico’s east coast as a Tropical Depression with 30 mph winds.

— The AP contributed to this report