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As the third anniversary of Hurricane Sandy approached, Mexico braced for the onslaught of Hurricane Patricia, predicted to cause widespread damage as it reached Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson wind intensity scale. Heeding the warnings from the U.S. National Weather Service and similar government entities in Mexico, tourists evacuated and residents prepared for the storm.

Catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide estimates that insured losses to onshore properties in Mexico from Hurricane Patricia will not exceed $200 million (MXN 3.3 billion). Six hours before Hurricane Patricia made landfall in the Mexican state of Jalisco, it was the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in their domain, which covers the Atlantic and East Pacific ocean basins. Fortunately, hurricanes cannot sustain such extreme intensity for long, AIR explained, and by the time Patricia reached the coast—about 55 miles west-northwest of Manzanillo—maximum sustained winds had fallen from 200 mph to 165 mph. (A 185 mph sustained wind speed was recorded by a weather station in Cuixmala, but the NHC has warned that the observation has not been confirmed.) Still a Category 5 storm at landfall, however, Hurricane Patricia brought powerful winds, torrential rains, and a damaging storm surge to a relatively sparsely populated stretch of the Jalisco coastline.

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