Mexico has declared a state of emergency in parts of the country as the Category 5 hurricane draws nearer. Residents along the coast are preparing for the worst.
People in Mexico braced themselves for days of flooding and no electricity as Hurricane Patricia churned toward the southwestern part of the country.
The storm was declared a "Category 5" hurricane - the highest level of hurricane - late Thursday, with maximum sustained winds of 160 miles (260 kilometers) per hour. It is expected to lose some of its strength as it makes landfall around Friday afternoon or evening, but experts are urging residents to stay safe.
The UN World Meteorological Organization said the hurricane is comparable in strength to Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated the Philippines in 2013, the Reuters news agency reported.
Mexican officials declared a state of emergency in dozens of municipalities along the Pacific coast. Local residents boarded up their windows and domestic flights were cancelled.
The government warned locals to prepare themselves for torrential rainfall, flooding and mudslides. Observers are expecting the states of Jalisco, Colima, Michoacan and Guerrero to be especially hard-hit.
The US National Hurricane Center issued a warning to those expecting to be impacted by the storm. It said Hurricane Patricia would most likely be "extremely dangerous."
blc/rc (dpa, AP, Reuters)