American Red Cross volunteers are paying close attention to the aftermath of Hurricane Patricia as it made landfall in Mexico Friday.
According to a press release, Red Cross volunteers in the Arizona-New Mexico-El Paso Region have been asked to update their availability should they be needed to deploy.
“We are part of the geographic network of Red Cross chapters who will be among the first called to help our brothers and sisters in Texas and the South if this hurricane results in extensive damage and flooding,”said Beth Boyd, American Red Cross Regional Disaster Officer for Arizona-New Mexico-El Paso Region. “We are leaning forward to be ready to respond quickly if needed.”
As the massive storm zeroed in on the Mexican coast, the Mexican Red Cross pre-positioned 18 emergency response units — including ambulances around Puerto Vallarta and positioned 30 tons of relief supplies. The Red Cross also had 500 volunteers ready to support with first aid, logistics, relief distributions, shelter support and damage assessments.
Volunteers with the American Red Cross work closely with the Mexican Red Cross to provide humanitarian aid and assistance during large emergencies. Volunteers for the American Red Cross in the past have worked in Mexico to support individuals impacted by flooding after heavy storms and worked in the wake of Hurricanes Manuel and Ingrid in Sept. 2013.
Patricia, which peaked as the strongest hurricane on record in the Western Hemisphere, made landfall Friday on a sparsely populated stretch of Mexico’s Pacific coast as a Category 5 storm, avoiding direct hits on the resort city of Puerto Vallarta and major port city of Manzanillo.
There were reports of some flooding and landslides, but no word of fatalities or major damage as the storm pushed across inland mountains while bypassing the metropolis of Guadalajara overnight.
The hurricane formed suddenly Tuesday as a tropical storm and quickly strengthened to a hurricane. Within 30 hours it had zoomed to a Category 5 storm, catching many off guard with its rapid growth.
By Friday it was the most powerful recorded hurricane to hit the hemisphere, with a central pressure of 880 millibars and maximum sustained winds of 200 mph (325 kph), according to the National Hurricane Center.
The Associated Press contributed to this report