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    This satellite image taken at 10 a.m.. EDT on Friday, Oct. 23, 2015, and released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Hurricane Patricia, left, moving over Mexico's Pacific Coast.

    Strongest Hurricane on Record: Patricia Hits Mexico Threatening Millions

    © AP Photo / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
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    Hurricane Patricia, predicted to be one of the most dangerous storms on record, has begun making landfall in Mexico's western state of Jalisco, according to the country's National Meteorological Service, and could level towns and villages across the region.

    According to the National Hurricane Center, Patricia officially made landfall at 6:15 pm, CDT, as a Category 5 with winds of 165 mph. It came ashore near Cuixmala, Mexico.

    Residents were warned to prepare for 200-mph — which later slowed to 190-mph — winds as the storm made its way toward Mexico’s Pacific coast. Robert Ramirez de la Parra, director of CONAGUA, the Mexican agency that includes the national weather service, said those wind speeds could make "Patricia the most dangerous storm in history."

    Officials are also concerned over flash floods. With rainfall estimates between 8 and 12 inches – with some areas expected to receive as much 20 inches – the US National Hurricane Center has issued a warning to the nearly 7 million residents living near the coast.

    Mexican and international tourists board a bus to be transported to a shelter, bracing for the arrival of Hurricane Patricia.
    © AP Photo / Rebecca Blackwell
    Mexican and international tourists board a bus to be transported to a shelter, bracing for the arrival of Hurricane Patricia.

    Some experts also predicted that the storm could cause 40-foot waves.

    "Residents in low-lying areas near the coast in the hurricane warning area should evacuate immediately, since the storm surge could be catastrophic near and to the east of where the center makes landfall," the agency said in a statement.

    The Mexican government declared a state of emergency and acted quickly to install preventive measures, especially in the states of Jalisco, Colima, Michoacan, Guerrero, and Nayarit. Over 1,780 shelters have been set up, with 50,000 aid workers ready to assist, and 4,000 officers of the Mexican navy were dispatched.

    Experts were also alarmed by how quickly Patricia became a Category 5 storm. It rose from tropical storm in a 24-hour period.

    Men fill small bags with sand from the beach as they prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Patricia in Puerto Vallarta.
    © AP Photo / Rebecca Blackwell
    Men fill small bags with sand from the beach as they prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Patricia in Puerto Vallarta.

    The Pacific coast is also dotted with a number of beach resorts. While many vacationers evacuated ahead of landfall, some have decided to wait it out.

    "It’s almost as if it’s literally 'the calm before the storm,'" Laura Diane Rebholz, an Arizona resident vacationing in Puerto Vallarta, told NBC News. "It’s very much business as usual around the resort with staff seemingly unfazed by the hurricane."

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    • 06:52
      Men fill small bags with sand from the beach as they prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Patricia in Puerto Vallarta.

      Hurricane Patricia Down to Category 4, No Damage Reported in Mexico So Far

      Hurricane Patricia, which made landfall on Mexico’s Pacific coast on Friday, has weakened from Category 5 to Category 4, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) informs.
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    • 04:40

      Hurricane Patricia's projected path

      The latest projected path of the hurricane, provided by CONAGUA, the Mexican government agency that includes the national weather service.

       

    • 04:17

      Weather station reported gusts of 211 mph

      According to the Weather Channel, a station near Cuixmala reported 185 mph winds and gusts up to 211 mph. That station was located close to where Hurricane Patricia made landfall.

    • 03:33

      A map of shelters prepared along the coast

       

    • 03:24

      More video emerging of the record-breaking winds

       

    • 03:22

      "The eye of Hurricane Patricia touches land in the state of Jalisco"

       

    • 03:09

      Authorities report landslides

      In addition to light infrastructure damage, authorities report landslides along the road between Manzanillo and the state capital of Colima.

    • 03:01

      Scientists blame the strength of the storm on three factors

      According to the Scientific American, three factors affect the formation of a hurricane: ocean surface temperature, the speed of atmospheric winds, and humidity. Many scientists are already pointing to global warming as the main culprit.

    • 02:32

      Photo of Hurricane Patricia from the International Space Station

       

    • 02:30

      Damage reports begin to come in from Manzanillo

       

    • 02:25

      The storm is large enough to cross the entire Mexican mainland

       

    • 02:23

      Damage from the heavy winds

       

    • 02:09

      Damage along the coast

       

    • 02:03

      Damage along the coast

       

    • 01:59

      The damage is already being felt

       

    • 01:57

      Social media users pray for those in the storm's path

       

    • 01:53

      "The beast has come ashore"

       

    • 01:51

      The storm is growing in intensity

       

    • 01:49

      A side-by-side comparison of Patricia with Hurricane Katrina

       

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    Hurricane Patricia, Mexico
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