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Record Hurricane Misses Mexico

Roaring in from the Pacific Ocean at a record-breaking 200 mph, Hurricane Patricia sent the people of Mexico scrambling for shelter in preparation for her imminent arrival. Over 4000 Mexican navy officers were deployed to offer aid in areas of high risk. Some 1780 shelters were constructed for more than 240,000 individuals. One official said that the storm had a chance to be the most catastrophic hurricane ever to hit Mexico.

All that hysteria faded into a whimper last Friday, when the earth-shaking storm faded into little more than a tropical depression, with wind speeds hovering around just 40-mph. This change is due, in large part, to the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range, which severely impeded the storm’s relentless pace. Not only did the mountains prevent the hurricane from moving further inland, but it directed the winds to touch down in a largely unpopulated coastal fishing region, narrowly evading the cities of Puerto Vallarta Manzanillo. Mexico’s coastal landscape also stifled Patricia’s chances at being catastrophic insofar as it did not offer the storm enough water to cause flood damage.

Thus far, only six storm-related fatalities have been reported: two because of a fallen tree, and four because of a storm-related car accident.

Robert Sandoval, governor of Nayarit State, told CNN, “We as government are not supposed to mention faith and God, but the only thing I can tell you is that God helped and watched over us so this monster of a hurricane did not hurt us here in Nayarit and in Mexico.” The president of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto, expressed similar optimism last weekend with a tweet, saying, “So far, there are no reports of major damage from Patricia.” Gerardo Ruiz Esparza, Mexico’s transport secretary, agreed: “Nature was good to us.”

In the days following the storm, Mexico remained on guard for potential flash floods and mudslides caused by the heavy rain. However, meteorologists confirmed that because the storm moved so quickly, rain did not stay in place long enough to cause any threatening floods.

Although the storm did damage some areas, Mexico can breathe a huge sigh of relief that it wasn’t nearly the disaster it could have been.

Sources: nytimes.com, nbcnews.com, usatoday.com, cnn.com

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