As Hurricane Patricia heads towards Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Canadians who live there part time are preparing for the worst.
Francis Bast and his wife are from Regina but are currently at their house on the outskirts of the resort town of Nuevo Vallarta. He spoke to reporters with News Talk Radio by phone several hours before the storm was set to hit. He says people were stocking up on food and drinks Friday morning but the banks and stores were all closed by noon.
“We anticipate probably in the aftermath of this storm we won’t have any power for a few days,” he said. “You just hope that your windows don’t get smashed in and your structure you’re in stays good. I guess that’s all you can do.”
Bast says he has brought in all the outdoor furniture and his satellite dish, but there’s not a lot more that he can do to prepare. All he can do now is wait for the storm.
“Highways are totally packed, people are trying to leave, but then you might get caught up in the storm,” he said.
Bast says he has seen severe storms in Mexico before, but nothing like what forecasters are predicting right now.
“You just hope that when it hits land it drops from a category five down to a category three and there’s nothing much you can really do,” he said.
Meanwhile, families from fishing villages along the west coast of Mexico are heading inland and towards higher ground as Hurricane Patricia approaches land.
“Right now they are taking in all the furniture into the building, they’re taping up windows … Families are hiking into the hills with all their backpacks,” said Leanna Keyes, who lives in Saskatoon but owns a condo in La Siella, north of Puerto Vallarta.
Keyes said she’s been on the phone all morning with her neighbours and her property manager in Mexico, trying to gauge how dire the situation is.
“I’m anxious because of our property but I’m anxious because of family and friends there. We’re anxious about their safety and their businesses because we’re like locals, we have many friends there and we’re worried about them all,” Keyes said.
“We all hope and pray that it will miss us, but this morning when I looked at the news, the map showing a red line showing where it’s going to get the worst, that red line includes where my property is.”
North of Puerto Vallarta in La Penita, B.C. couple Harvey and Janet Craig say the situation isn’t as desperate as towns and villages in the path of the hurricane, but they’re not taking anything for granted.
“You never know with these storms — a lot of people are evacuating small towns and we’re getting candles and flashlights, getting water and the basics,” Janet said, adding what’s usually a busy town looks deserted.
“This is a fairly large town and the streets are empty, everyone is just staying home.”
Loren Sproat built a home in Manzanillo, one of towns expected to get the worst of Hurricane Patricia. He said his main concern isn’t his home, rather the people who have to live through the storm and wake up to the aftermath.
“There’s a family that’s looking after my property down there and we told them if they want to use our place or any other places he looks after they are more than free to do that,” Sproat said, adding his home in Mexico isn’t the first home threatened by a natural disaster.
“It’s no different than the fires up north. We were at Bartlett Lake in the middle of the Bob Fire which burnt our dock, the boat and all the trees around it, the cabin is there but not a lot around it.”
Sproat and his family are heading to Manzanillo Nov. 22, and he hopes his home is still standing.
Forecasters say the storm is packing winds topping 320 kilometres per hour which will be powerful enough to lift up cars, destroy homes and drag along people caught outside.
The wind starting to pick up in Manzanillo ahead of Hurricane Patricia
The conditions in Manzanillo around 3 p.m. local time
Live stream from Ixtapa, south of Puerto Vallarta