Hurricane Patricia made landfall in southwestern Mexico Friday night as a monster Category 5 storm, “the strongest hurricane on record” in the Western Hemisphere, NBC News reported.
The ferocious system's eye made near Cuixmala, west-northwest of Manzanillo, with 165 mph winds at 6:15 p.m. local time (7:15 p.m. ET), according to the National Hurricane Center.
Expert warned Patricia could trigger 40-foot waves across the coast as well as "life-threatening" flash flooding and mud slides.
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The Mexican government declared a state of emergency and more than 7 million residents were told to prepare for the "worst-case scenario." The tourist magnets of Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo were directly in the storm's projected path.
Three airports in Patricia's path were shut down, according to The Associated Press, meaning those who wished to flee to safety were forced to board buses amidst heavy evacuation traffic.
NBC News meteorologist Bill Karins said the storm could lead to 10 inches of rain for Texas as well as flash flooding in south Texas on Sunday.