Powerful. Intense. Destructive. Fast. Hurricane Patricia is the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Western hemisphere. Two days ago, Patricia was a tropical storm. Today, she’s a category five hurricane.
Weakened slightly but sill immensely powerful, the storm touched down in southwestern Mexico only hours ago. Depending on which source you find the most reliable, the death toll varies, but it seems safe to say that it’s still a low number, but for how much longer can that statement remain true? And even though a state of emergency was declared and evacuations were mandated, much of the “danger zone” contains people living in poverty. These people cannot afford to jump on a plane—all planes have officially been grounded, anyway—and it might even be too late for them to begin to drive. The winds are estimated to be strong enough to pull cars off the streets and pick up people, making shelters seem like a much more adequate alternative. Aristóteles Sandoval, the governor of Jalisco, has tweeted that—as of around ten p.m. on Friday night—there are 6,333 people currently in shelters.
As of 7:00 am this morning, Patricia has regressed back down into a tropical storm, but the damage has already been done. The storm has been following a path that moved inland, bringing heavy rain with the possibility of floods as she goes. Homes and buildings have been torn apart and crops have been destroyed, but most reports say that the damage is not beyond repair.
Hurricane Patricia only has 1/4 of the amount of energy Hurricane Katrina had in 2005, but Louisiana had much more time to prepare for that storm to hit. Patricia is taking Mexico by surprise, giving them little time to evacuate or find shelter. Though it seems the worst of the storm has already hit, the storm hasn’t died yet.
If you are religious, please keep Mexico in your prayers. If you aren’t, send positive thoughts their way during this difficult time. Homes have been destroyed, families separated, and lives lost. But this storm is not over yet.
Many charities—including Red Cross, World Vision and Save the Children—have already began funding to aid the country in its recovery from the disaster. I strongly encourage making a donation—no matter how small—towards the cause. Right now, Mexico needs all the support they can get.