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Update: Hurricane Patricia weakens overnight

EDITOR’S NOTE: (Update: Oct. 24 at 11:30 a.m.) Hurricane Patricia struck Mexico’s Jalisco State on Friday evening (Oct. 23) at 165 mph, a Category 5 hurricane. As it moved inland overnight, it continued to weaken to a Category 4 hurricane of 130 mph maximum sustained winds. By Saturday morning, it was a Category 1 hurricane with 75 mph winds, then downgraded to a tropical storm.

This story first ran Oct. 23.

RICHMOND, Va. (BP) — The International Mission Board is asking for prayer for those living along Mexico’s Pacific Coast as Hurricane Patricia is expected to reach landfall in Mexico’s Jalisco State on Friday evening (Oct. 23). On Friday morning the storm became the most powerful tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere, according to the Weather Channel.

Mexican authorities have issued a state of emergency for 56 municipalities, evacuating as many as 50,000 people, in the path of the storm that has strengthened to a Category 5 hurricane with winds reaching 200 mph.

“Pray for the people all along the path of this hurricane on Mexico’s western coast, including our Mexican brothers and sisters in Christ,” said Terry Lassiter, strategy leader for IMB’s American peoples affinity group. “Our IMB personnel are outside the hurricane’s target area. They are either currently stateside or in Central Mexico.”

David Brown, Baptist Global Response area director for Americas, said BGR is monitoring the weather situation as it develops and is communicating with partners about coordinating a response. IMB is one of Baptist Global Response’s partners in relief and development efforts.

“That area of Mexico is no stranger to storms and is well prepared to deal with the emergency,” Brown said. “In the past, the Mexican government has done an excellent job of providing relief in the immediate aftermath of a hurricane.

“We do anticipate responding to needs created by the storm and if needed will communicate with the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Network about ways volunteer teams might be involved in the post-Patricia recovery and rebuilding effort,” he said. “Please pray for the families who live in the path of the storm. Ask God to preserve life and to make His love known as they rebuild their lives in the aftermath.”

Only one Category 5 hurricane has been known to make landfall on Mexico’s Pacific coast, according to The Weather Channel. That hurricane followed a path similar to that of Hurricane Patricia and struck near Puerto Vallarta in late October 1959, causing at least 1,800 deaths. A Category 5 hurricane has not posed an imminent threat to land in North America since Hurricane Felix approached Nicaragua in September 2007.

Hurricane Patricia is among the most rapidly intensifying tropical cyclones, particularly dangerous because in addition to its 200 mph sustained wind speed, it has the lowest pressure of any hurricane on record. Generally, the lower the pressure of a hurricane, the more intense its capacity for wind damage.

According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Hurricane Patricia is just 15 mph shy of tying the all-time record strongest tropical cyclone for the globe based on maximum sustained winds. Typhoon Nancy holds that record with maximum sustained winds of 215 mph on Sept. 12, 1961.

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