BRITISH COLUMBIA

Hurricane Patricia Forces B.C. Residents In Mexico To Brace For The Worst

10/23/2015 07:11 EDT | Updated 10/23/2016 05:12 EDT
B.C. residents trapped in resort towns dotting Mexico's Pacific Coast are bracing for what's being called the strongest storm in recorded history.

Mexico's National Water Commission has said Hurricane Patricia has reached sustained wind speeds of up to 325 kilometres an hour.

Langley's Scott Pettie, his wife and two of his children were supposed to coming home on Friday after a relaxing sun-filled vacation in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico.

But, at 7 a.m. CDT on the day they were supposed to fly home, he heard a knock on the door and was told instead his family had to evacuate the resort.

"I have a very calm personality ... but thIs is definitely right on the edge of my comfort zone I've got to say," said Pettie.

He and other guests at the resort were taken by bus to a temporary shelter — a concrete building that normally functions as a university.

The father-of-five children said while he felt relatively safe, he was concerned that other buildings around him "have zero chance of surviving" the storm.

His hope is to bring his family home to Vancouver as soon as possible. 

"If we all make it through," said Pettie. "Hopefully there will be busses in the morning to take us to the airport or hotel and get out of here."

An Unexpected Turn

Abbotsford's Pattricia Gratton is also trapped a resort on Mexico's Pacific Coast. Early in the afternoon on Friday, she was moved into a higher room with other guests because they were "too close to the water."

They were stocked up on water and food to "ride out" the storm.

Gratton said she found her circumstances "crazy" and "really unexpected" considering she was selective in choosing her vacation location.

"We actually chose to come to the west coast over the east coast because we wouldn't have to face any hurricanes," said Gratton. "But obviously, that's not the situation that we're in."

The B.C. resident says she wasn't feeling nervous, but she was anxious waiting for the storm to hit. She hopes they'll be able to "ride the storm out" until airports reopen and she can fly back to B.C.

Robert Palmer, a spokesperson for Westjet who operates vacations in the area said they had 295 customers in Puerto Vallarta at the moment. They've cancelled all scheduled to fly into the city on Saturday.

He urged those who are there to "stay put" and not venture out.

"These hotels have been in place for decades, they've been through hurricanes before. Pay attention to the instructions of the hotels," said Palmer.

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