Monster Category 5 hurricane heads for Mexico’s Pacific Coast

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Satellite image taken at 8:45 p.m. EDT on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015, shows Hurricane Patricia, left, moving over central Mexico's Pacific coast. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Hurricane Patricia, churning in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico, has increased in strength to category 5, the National Hurricane Center said, calling Patricia the strongest eastern North Pacific hurricane on record.

According to the National Hurricane Center, there could be “potentially catastrophic landfall in southwestern Mexico later today.”

Hurricane Patricia continues to pack 200 mph sustained winds as it spins off Mexico’s Pacific coast, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in its latest advisory Friday morning.

Patricia is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 8 to 12 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches, over the Mexican states of Nayarit, Jalisco, Colima, Michoacan and Guerrero through Saturday. These rains could produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.

Officials declared a state of emergency in dozens of municipalities in Colima, Nayarit and Jalisco states that contain the bustling port of Manzanillo and the posh resort of Puerto Vallarta.

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