The largest hurricane ever recorded quickly turned into a tropical depression as it hit Mexico’s west coast this weekend.
Update 10/25/2015: Due to Patricia’s rapid degradation, there have been no reports of serious damage in Mexico. The port at Manzanillo experienced no major complications, and activity has returned to normal.
10/23/2015: Hurricane Patricia, officially the strongest hurricane ever recorded, is set to make landfall as a Category 5 hurricane on Mexico’s west coast this evening. The deadly hurricane grew from a tropical storm to a Category 5 system in just 24 hours—now, scientists are predicting 200 mph sustained winds and higher when the storm makes landfall.
Which areas of Mexico will be impacted?
Patricia will hit the state of Jalisco, which includes the large metropolitan and manufacturing center of Guadalajara as well as ports in Manzanillo—the largest in Mexico by volume.
- Mexico’s West Coast ports have been shut down as of 8am local time. Expect them to remain closed through Saturday, and to sustain possible damage.
- The port of Manzanillo has become a key trade hub in recent years, as near-shoring trends pushed shipments south, and the West Coast port strikes early this year allowed Mexico to present itself as a strong alternative to the congestion at Los Angeles and Long Beach ports.
- Because of Mexico’s free trade agreement with the U.S., shipping goods between the countries is easy and common—especially from the port of Manzanillo, which is a hub for movement of electronics and agriculture.
- Included in the impacted area is the Puerto Nayarit, a new port funded by the Mexican government and several Chinese companies. The port will be connected by rail to New Mexico.
Guadalajara and the Surrounding Area
- The state of Jalisco, whose manufacturing is centered at Guadalajara, exports $5 billion worth of goods annually to 81 countries.
- Guadalajara has been called the “Silicon Valley of Mexico” because of its booming tech industry.
- Major electronics manufacturers have plants in Guadalajara, including Flex, IBM, and Solectron.
- Guadalajara is also home to a number of smaller manufacturers, who are at the most risk during the hurricane.
What to Expect
- Businesses and factories will be closed today and over the weekend. Coastal regions expect heavy structural damage.
- A similar strength typhoon, Haiyan, hit the Philippines in 2013, killing 6,000 people and costing billions of dollars in damage. It registered 195-mph sustained winds at landfall.
- Expect lasting congestion and structural damage, especially at ports.
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