Massive storm Patricia hits Mexico's Pacific coast, but skirts big cities

Patricia, one of the strongest ever hurricanes, crashed into western Mexico with rain and winds of up to 165 mph (266 kph), hammering coastal areas but skirting major cities and causing less damage than feared.
Mowing down trees, flooding streets and battering buildings, Hurricane Patricia plowed into Mexico as a Category 5 storm on Friday evening before grinding inland. It rapidly lost power in the mountains that rise up along the Pacific coast and was downgraded to a tropical storm by Saturday morning.
So far, it appeared that major damage had been averted because the powerful storm did not hit large population centers.
Around 15,000 tourists had been hurriedly evacuated from the beach resort of Puerto Vallarta as people scrambled to get away from the advancing hurricane, whose massive swirl over Mexico could be seen clearly from space.
Thousands of residents and tourists ended up in improvised shelters, but there were no early reports of fatalities and many felt they had escaped lightly.
The storm hit land near the area of Cuixmala, home to one of Mexico's most exclusive getaways, at 6:15 p.m. (2315 GMT) on Friday, the US National Hurricane Center said.
Cuixmala, located between the major port of Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta, has over the years played host to a colorful assortment of world leaders and eccentric billionaires.
The area is sparsely populated but there are small towns, and it was not clear yet how much damage they had suffered.
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