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Hurricane Patricia downgraded to tropical depression over Mexico

The record-breaking Hurricane Patricia, which hit the west coast of Mexico, has been downgraded to a tropical depression as it moves across country. Torrential rain, flooding and landslides remain a threat.

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Patricia leaves no major damage in Mexico

Hurricane Patricia moved rapidly across central Mexico on Saturday, which meant it did not saturate the ground and cause the flooding feared by meteorologists. There have been no reported deaths.

After hitting the coast as a Category 5 hurricane on Friday evening, Patricia lost power as it moved over the Sierra Madre mountains inland.

Little is known yet of the situation in the coastal region between the port city of Manzanillo and the resort town of Puerto Vallarta, where the hurricane made landfall on Friday. The isolated area of Cuixmala, with its luxury villas and fishing villages, took the full force of the hurricane. Winds of 266 kilometers per hour (165mph) were recorded.

Cuixmala is best known as an ecological resort developed by the late Sir James Goldsmith, father of British MP and candidate for Mayor of London, Zac Goldsmith. It is run by Zac's sister Alix. All the guests had been evacuated ahead of the storm but telephone lines to the area were still down on Saturday.

While dozens of homes were flattened along the Pacific coast, authorities said the hurricane has largely spared the country.

"So far, there are no reports of major damage from #Patricia. Our gratitude to all for your thoughts, prayers and actions #PrayForMexico," President Enrique Pena Nieto wrote on Twitter.

The major Mexican cargo port of Manzanillo reopened on Saturday afternoon after avoiding the worst of the storm, an official said.

The storm still tore down trees and caused minor landslides and flooding in the states of Jalisco and Coloma.

Transport Minister Gerardo Ruiz Esparza told a news conference in Jalisco on Saturday: "We were lucky that the impact was diverted" to a mountain region that slowed down Patricia's winds, he said. "Nature was kind-hearted."

Patricia was expected to produce up to 51 centimeters (20 inches) of rain over the states of Nayarit, Jalisco, Colima, Michoacan, and Guerrero. Flash floods and mudslides remained a threat.

The storms winds and rain were expected to add their weight to the bad weather for Sunday's Formula One Grand Prix in Austin, Texas across the border in the United States. Saturday's qualifying session was postponed to Sunday because of rain and "high water" incidents, according to the city's mayor.

jm/bk (Reuters/AP)

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