PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico - Hurricane Patricia, one of the most powerful storms on record, struck Mexico's Pacific coast on Friday with destructive winds that tore down trees, moved cars and forced thousands of people to flee homes and beachfront resorts.
With winds of 160 miles per hour (266 km per hour), the Category 5 hurricane had western Mexico on high alert, with the popular resort of Puerto Vallarta and others on the coast opening emergency shelters as hotels were closed.
Driving rains sparked flash flooding and tourists piled into makeshift dormitories to avoid Patricia, compared by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to Typhoon Haiyan, which killed thousands of people in the Philippines in 2013.
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