A massive evacuation is underway as Mexico braces for the most powerful hurricane on record. Hurricane Patricia is speeding toward southwestern Mexico as a monster Category 5 storm, the strongest ever in the Western Hemisphere, according to the World Meteorological Organization.
According to the report, fire trucks and ambulances rolled through the streets, sirens blaring, as emergency workers urged people in both Spanish and English to evacuate.
“We need people to understand the magnitude of the hurricane. It is a devastating hurricane, the biggest one ever registered,” Mexican officials said.
Residents and tourists were trying to make last-minute escapes ahead of what forecasters called a “potentially catastrophic landfall” later in the day, reported the Associated Press.
Hurricane Patricia’s power is being compared to that of Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,300 dead or missing in the Philippines two years ago, according to the U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization. More than 4 million people were displaced and over 1 million houses were destroyed or damaged in 44 provinces in the central Visayas region, a large cluster of islands.
Texas is also in the path of the storm. The U.S. National Weather Service said a flash flood watch would be in effect through Sunday morning for Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio.
“A coastal flood warning is in effect through Friday night in Corpus Christi. Galveston was under a coastal flood advisory until Saturday night,” U.S. officials said.