The hurricane, Patricia, was packing winds of about 165 miles per hour as it struck land, having slowed considerably from earlier speeds of about 200 miles per hour as it moved toward a coastline dotted with tiny fishing villages and five-star resorts in cities like Puerto Vallarta.
As the outer wall of the hurricane swept over the coast at 6 pm, the authorities reported trees being knocked down and landslides taking place along the road between the state capital, Colima, and the port city of Manzanillo.
The government of Mexico had declared a state of emergency in dozens of municipalities in the states of Colima, Nayarit and Jalisco. Residents stacked sandbags in front of properties and rushed to grocery stores to stock up on supplies.
CNN is reporting that the eye of the storm is nearly six and half miles wide:
Mexico's National Commission for Water, CONAGUA, said the eye of Patricia has a diameter of 10 kilometers, or 6.21 miles.
President Enrique Peña Nieto, in a tweet, said: "Hurricane Patricia is on the coast of Mexico. Do not go outside. Protect yourselves and follow instructions from Civil Protection. I am thinking of you all."
The excessive wind speeds, according to the head of the Mexican agency that includes its national weather service, "makes Patricia the most dangerous storm in history."
By that, CONAGUA director Robert Ramirez de la Parra meant any cyclone ever measured, not just in and around Mexico.
"The hurricane is so big and so intense that it has the capacity to pass over both the Sierra Madres in our country -- that is, through our most mountainous ranges -- and then exit the country on the other side into the north part of the Gulf of Mexico and possibly the United States," Ramirez de la Parra said.
While its strength could fluctuate, "Patricia is expected to remain an extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane through landfall," the U.S. National Hurricane Center said Friday afternoon.
The publication added that this storm is stronger that 1992’s Andrew and 2005’s Katrina, and that the other hurricane that could match Patricia's strength is 1969's Camille. Both Katrina and Camille ravaged the gulf coast.