Hurricane Patricia Downgraded to Tropical Depression, But Dumps Torrential Rain on Mexico

Patricia is forecast to dissipate over Mexico on Saturday.

ByABC News
October 24, 2015, 7:02 AM

— -- Hurricane Patricia has weakened dramatically from the monster Category 5 storm that made landfall in Mexico Friday evening, to a tropical depression as of early Saturday morning, but not before reportedly unleashing heavy rains that could cause deadly flooding and mudslides, according to authorities.

As of 5 a.m. ET, Patricia had sustained winds of 75 mph, traveling to the north-northeast at 21 mph, and was centered about 50 miles southwest of Zacatecas, Mexico. Just hours later it was downgraded to a tropical depression with 35 mph winds.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or substantial widespread damage that was earlier predicted, according to authorities, who also warned of floods and mudslides. Television reports showed scenes of fallen trees and floodwaters.

Jalisco state reportedly received over 10 inches of rainfall in the last 24 hours, the NHC said.

President Enrique Pena Nieto said in a taped address Friday evening that “the first reports confirm that the damage has been less than those expected from a hurricane of this magnitude.” But, he added, that "we cannot yet let our guard down."

Patricia is forecast to dissipate over Mexico and will no longer be a tropical storm by day’s end.

The storm had earlier made landfall Friday evening and came ashore as a Category 5 with 165 mph winds near Cuixmala, the National Hurricane Center said.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Patricia is predicted to produce about 8 to 12 inches of total rainfall. The accumulations could yield life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.

The Associated Press, citing the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization, says Hurricane Patricia was comparable to Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,300 people dead or missing when that storm hit the Philippines in 2013.

The U.S. embassy in Mexico City has issued a warning to all Americans in the hurricane's path.

"If you are in the hurricane warning area, you should make preparations immediately to protect life and property," the statement says.

Puerto Vallarta, a well-known resort town popular with foreigners, issued evacuations Friday and many tourists were being sent to one of 14 shelters in the state, the AP says.

Newlyweds Dustin and Amanda Smith of Bloomington, Ill., were forced to evacuate their hotel in Puero Vallarta and moved to a school that was serving as a makeshift shelter. "We had to throw everything in the bathroom and we could only bring a small bag," Dustin Smith told ABC News.

In other weather-related news, heavy rain and significant flash flooding continues across much of Texas Saturday morning. The heavy rain will continue throughout the weekend but begin to focus more towards the western Gulf Coast. Flash flood watches remain in effect across parts of Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana Saturday morning.

According to the Navarro County Office of Emergency Management in Texas, there had been over 20 water rescues from Friday afternoon into Saturday morning. There were no reported hospitalizations or fatalities.

Also, a Union Pacific train carrying gravel derailed due to the flash flooding in Texas overnight, according to a spokesman for the railroad company. There were no reported injuries and the two-person crew was able to get out. They were picked up by a Navarro County swift water rescue team.

ABC News' Max Golembo, Melissa Griffin, Justin Fishel, Matthew Foster, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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