Hurricane Patricia, which landed near Cuixmala in southwestern Mexico on Oct. 23, 2015, was feared to cause epic damage and fatalities on an unprecedented scale. The category 5 storm, with ferocious speeds of 165 miles per hour, miraculously degenerated into a low-pressure cell the next day, thus averting a potentially catastrophic disaster in Mexico. According to the U.S. National Hurricane Center, the mountainous landscape in this part of Mexico helped to downgrade the gale into a tropical storm with speeds of 35 miles per hour. However, the agency has warned of floods and mudslides in all areas affected by the storm. Moreover, Mexicans have been warned to continue exercising caution and should remain in the evacuation zones until the weather has cleared.
Thousands of people who had been evacuated could not hide their joy at the news. They told reporters this was an act of divine intervention and God had a hand in it. Gomez Valerio, a resident in Autlan, Jalisco state, was quoted by Reuters as saying, “God’s hand has covered the people of Mexico.” Like many evacuees, Valerio had prayed “almost every minute” for survival until Hurricane Patricia was halted by the mountains in Mexico.
The Mexican authorities also expressed relief at the fact that the impending natural disaster dissipated into a normal storm. Gerardo Ruiz Esparza, Mexico’s transport minister told reporters, “The mountainous areas helped to lessen the impact of Hurricane Patricia.” He also stated the country was “fortunate” the tempest did not land with disastrous force as had been predicted. President Enrique Pena Nieto, in a tweet on his official page, wrote, “As of now, there are no reports of major damages from Hurricane Patricia.”
The Mexican officials have been lauded for being proactive. This has also helped in minimizing the damage the hurricane could have caused. Before the storm landed, thousands of people from the Bay of Tenacatita and surrounding areas in Jalisco had been evacuated to temporary shelters. Tourists were also moved from Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara. This is fortunate because when the storm landed in the impoverished villages of Melaque, El Estrecho, and La Manzanilla, the category 5 storm was relentless as it uprooted trees and anything in its trail.
Speaking to CNN, Governor Roberto Sandoval of Nayarit said, “Preventive measures have helped to save precious human lives,” He also warned residents that the danger has not yet passed as the possibility of mudslides and floods persist. He appealed to international organizations to provide “any assistance possible” to assuage the current situation. A primary concern is the provision of clean water, food, and shelter to the affected people who include children.
Businesses have been reported to have resumed normal service. The Transport and Communication Ministry had shut down airports at Tepic and Colima in fear of the storm. Some corporations had gritted their teeth for the worst. According to some media reports, Kinetic Analysis Corp., a U.S. registered company, had estimated storm losses in the region of more than $4 billion in structural damages. Ferromex, which deals with liquefied natural gas and also runs a rail line, had been forced to close as the ports in Lazaro, Cardenas, and Manzanillo had been shut down following the category 5 alert.
By Shepherd Mutsvara
Edited by Leigh Haugh
Los Angeles Times: Mexicans Express Relief and Begin Clean Up From Hurricane Patricia
Mexico News Daily: Only Minor Damage Reported After Hurricane Patricia
CNN: Hurricane Patricia Dissipates in Mexico, Flooding, Mudslide Concerns Remain
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