MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) – Mexico’s Pacific Coast is threatened by Category 4 Hurricane Patricia, with the country’s authorities having issued emergency warnings in the storm’s projected path, launching the evacuation of thousands of people.
"Extremely dangerous hurricane Patricia with 150-mph [miles per hour] winds headed for southwestern Mexico," the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) National Hurricane Center warns on its website.
Patricia is expected to make landfall on the coast of Mexico on Friday afternoon.
A state of emergency has been declared in 56 Mexican municipalities.
According to NOAA, a hurricane warning is in effect in Mexico for the San Blas to Punta San Telmo area, while a hurricane watch and a tropical storm warning are in effect for east of Punta San Telmo to Lazaro Cardenas area.
Patricia strengthened from a tropical storm to a major hurricane in the past 24 hours.
Significant coastal flooding is expected in the Manzanillo area, as well as near Puerto Vallarta, which is where Patricia’s center will most likely make landfall late on Friday.