Patricia Downgraded to a Tropical Depression
Photo via Twitter/NHC_Pacific
Patricia became the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere Friday, packing maximum sustained winds of 200 mph and promising 40-foot waves. But only 13 hours after making landfall on Mexico’s Pacific coast, it was downgraded to a tropical storm, Weather.com reported.
Then, at 10 a.m. CDT, the National Hurricane Center downgraded it to a tropical depression, with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph.
As of 7 a.m. CDT Saturday, Patricia was 35 miles northeast of Zacatecas, Mexico, headed northeast, traveling at 21 mph, Weather.com said.
Mexico’s inland mountains are expected to break the storm up later Saturday, according to Weather.com.
Landfall for Hurricane Patricia occurred Friday at 6:15 p.m. CDT near Cuixmala in the state of Jalisco. Maximum sustained winds at this point were 165 mph — still Category 5. This location is about 60 miles northwest of Manzanillo, a locale that, as Weather.com said, most likely saw tropical storm-force winds.
The weather network noted that the storm’s track “spared most if not all of Mexico's major cities,” including the resort destination of Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara, Mexico's second-largest city, located inland.
All hurricane and tropical storm warnings have been lifted for the Mexican coast, Weather.com said, but Patricia’s heavy precipitation could cause flash floods and mudslides.
“Hurricane Patricia did not have much of an impact in Puerto Vallarta,” Gustavo Rivas-Solis, public relations director for the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board, said. There was rain “from 4 p.m. until this morning but that was pretty much it,” he said, adding that authorities went to the shelters around 9 p.m. Friday to tell the 4,000 people taking refuge “that the worst had passed.”
A statement released by the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board Saturday afternoon, declared "all hotels, the Puerto Vallarta International Airport (PVR) and cruise port open and operating at 100% capacity," and reported clear skies and sunshine.
Jalisco State Authorities and Puerto Vallarta hotels have started to transport tourists and locals back to the town from shelters.
"No human loss or infrastructure damages have been reported as a result of Hurricane Patricia," the statement said.
The beachfront Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta resort will be reopening tomorrow, Playa Hotels & Resorts spokesperson Gayle B. MacIntyre said, adding that she was advised there was "no major damage."
Sources in told TravelPulse, "essentially nothing happened" in Puerto Vallarta's Banderas Bay. "Even the streets are dry!" It was surmised that the surrounding Sierra Madre Mountains "knocked down the storm in quick fashion."
Any potential hurricane danger has passed for the resort town of Acapulco — located a little over 400 miles down the coast from Puerto Vallarta — according to a statement from the Acapulco Destination Marketing Office, which reported the current weather as “sunny and normal.”
“The tourism authorities of Acapulco have been following protocol, staying in touch with hotels, tour operators, restaurants as a way to (keep) everybody informed,” the statement read. “Fortunately, everything is well in Acapulco. The hotels have not evacuated any guests and the airport is operating normally. Currently, there are no plans to close the airport.”
But the office has not forgotten areas that have been the hardest hit by Patricia. “By working with government agencies to provide support in response to possible damages that may occur from the hurricane, Acapulco stands in solidarity with neighbor destinations Colima, Jalisco and Nayarit,” the statement said.
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