The Mexican government is urging residents to prepare for Hurricane Patricia, the strongest hurricane ever recorded by the National Hurricane Center, which was churning off the country's Pacific coast Friday.
The storm is expected to make landfall today as a powerful Category 5 hurricane. As it approached, Mexican authorities appealed to residents to take precautions and stay indoors and away from windows.
Men nail boards across the shutters of a waterfront business as residents prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Patricia in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on Oct. 23, 2015. (Rebecca Blackwell/AP)
"We ask everyone to stay calm, to take care of their families, their lives, we all have a high responsibility,” said Luis Felipe Puente, the director of civil protection, according to Mexican news reports.
Authorities evacuated several coastal communities and set up dozens of hurricane shelters in the areas that were likely to be affected.
Classes were also canceled in many schools, airports and ports were shut down, and electricity and gas sales were temporarily suspended in some areas.
Patricia's maximum sustained winds were near 200 mph, the National Hurricane Center said in a Friday advisory