Mexico was battening down the hatches on Friday as Hurricane Patricia – measured early in the day as one of the most powerful storms in history – bore down on the country’s Pacific southwest coast with a likely landing point between the important ports of Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta.
Both ports were closed down and many people were fleeing inland.
Mexico declared a state of emergency in the states of Colima, Nayarit and Jalisco.
Scientists were shocked at the rapidity with which Patricia grew in strength.
On Friday morning it was already being described as “extremely dangerous” and more powerful than other famous hurricanes Katrina of 2005 and Andrew of 1992. US National Hurricane Centre meteorologists clocked Patricia’s winds at 205 mph which would make it a Category 5 storm if sustained (Katrina was Category 3 when it reached land in Louisiana).
With torrential rains and the possibility of monster waves being whipped up, Patricia looked like it was a recipe for potentially widespread devastation.