Hurricane flattens Mexico homes, but major disaster averted

The modest homes of 40 families in the fishing village of Chamela were blown away by Patricia's powerful winds.

Chamela: Patricia flattened dozens of homes on Mexico's Pacific coast, but authorities have said the record-breaking hurricane largely spared the country and weakened into a remnant low as it moved north.

The modest homes of 40 families in the fishing village of Chamela were blown away by Patricia's powerful winds after it made landfall as a Category Five monster in Jalisco state late Friday.

The families survived the hurricane because they evacuated to a shelter before landfall, which occurred just 20 kilometers to the south.

The villagers returned to pick up the pieces yesterday and complained that the government has not provided any help.

"We have nothing. My property's gone," said Griselda Hernandez yesterday, looking at the space without walls or roof that used to be her home.

While the residents of Chamela lost nearly everything, most of the region breathed a sigh of relief and the authorities rejoiced that no deaths were reported.

"Maybe (the warnings) were exaggerated, but it's better to be warned," said Ruben Fregoso, a restaurant owner who reopened his business in the popular resort of Puerto Vallarta after the storm.

Seafront hotels were cleared of their guests in Puerto Vallarta before Patricia's arrival, while thousands of tourists were evacuated by bus or plane, many taken to shelters. But the town had little damage in the end.

Forecasters had warned of a "potential catastrophe" after Patricia's winds peaked at 325 kilometers per hour Friday.

That was more powerful than the 315 kilometers per hour winds of Super Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,350 dead or missing when it struck the Philippines in November 2013.

But Patricia struck with 270 kilometers per hour winds, slowing as it collided with mountains.

"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.

Patricia tore down trees, triggered some flooding and caused minor landslides elsewhere in Jalisco and neighboring Colima state.

But soldiers began cleaning up streets, while regional airports reopened and highways were cleared of obstacles.

Transport Minister Gerardo Ruiz Esparza praised the Mexican people for preparing well for the hurricane's assault. 

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