Hurricane Patricia breaks severity records as it hits Mexico
MEXICO is bracing itself ahead of the landfall of the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Western hemisphere.
Hurricane Patricia is expected to hit Mexico's coast late on Friday, bringing with it unprecedented winds up to 200mph strong.
The UN's World Meteorological Organisation (WHO) has been compared the storm to Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,300 people dead or missing in the Philippines in 2013.
"Patricia is now the strongest ever hurricane to hit the eastern north Pacific region," Clare Nullis, WMO spokeswoman, told a UN briefing in Geneva. "This is really, really, really strong."
Mexican authorities have declared a state of emergency in three states and dozens of principalities following the US Hurricane Centre's warning the now-Category 5 storm was the strongest they had ever recorded.
"This is an extremely dangerous, potentially catastrophic hurricane," centre meteorologist Dennis Feltgen told Associated Press.
Forecasters are warning the storm is the strongest in the area since Hurricane Wilma in 2005, which cost an estimated $29.4billion in damage and killed 87 people.
The eye of the storm is expected to move ashore late on Friday night, centred around Jalisco state. It contains two densely populated areas, including the popular resort city of Puerto Vallarta and Mexico's second largest city Guadalajara.
The country's National Disaster Fund warned as many as 400,000 people lived in areas vulnerable to the oncoming storm.
Meanwhile, the US centre has warned of the possibility of flash floods, torrential rain and mudslides, as well as potential sea flooding.