Mexico’s west coast is bracing for the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere which should hit land on Friday night.

Hurricane Patricia threatens restort towns and fishing areas and, as the LA Times reports, got very strong in the last day:

Patricia was upgraded overnight to a Category 5 storm — with the strongest winds ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere — after growing at “an incredible rate” over a 12-hour span, according to the World Meteorological Organization, which warned that preparations should be rushed.

“The winds are enough to get a plane in the air and keep it flying,” agency spokeswoman Clare Nullis told a United Nations briefing in Geneva.

Home and shop owners along Mexico’s western coast stocked up on food and boarded up buildings in preparation for winds that could reach 200 miles an hour, 40-foot waves, torrential rains of between 8 and 12 inches, severe flooding and landslides when Patricia hits Friday afternoon.

As many as 50,000 people may be moved from the coast and into shelters as Mexican authorities declared a state of emergency and warned residents to prepare as Patricia approached the coast.

Flights from So Cal to Puerto Vallarta were all cancelled on Friday – with not word on if cancellations will continue through the weekend, when the storm is expected to hit Texas.

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