PUERTO VALLARTA: Hurricane Patricia, one of the most powerful storms on record, struck Mexico's Pacific coast on Friday with destructive winds that tore down trees, moved cars and forced thousands of people to flee homes and beachfront resorts.

Hours after making landfall, the storm weakened but still packed winds of 130 miles per hour (210 km per hour). There were no reported casualties and officials said the damage might not be as catastrophic as feared.

Patricia slammed into a stretch of sparsely populated coastline near the popular beach getaway of Puerto Vallarta, where 15,000 tourists were evacuated to avoid torrential rain and potentially lethal winds.

There was flooding in parts of the city, though it escaped the worst of the immensely powerful storm.

Visitors and residents weathered the hurricane's onslaught in emergency shelters hoping it would not do as much damage as the last storm of this magnitude, Typhoon Haiyan, which killed thousands of people in the Philippines in 2013.

While still out to sea as a Category 5 hurricane, Patricia blew furious winds of 200 mph (322 kph).

"The winds are really strong. It's amazing, even the cars are moving," said Laura Barajas, a 30-year-old hotel worker from the port of Manzanillo, close to where the storm reached land.

Officials said the port emerged relatively unscathed, suffering only minor damage, such as fallen trees.

Weather experts said the storm could have a catastrophic impact, but initial reports suggested that Patricia had left more of an expensive mess than outright disaster in its wake.

Before reaching land, Patricia was the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere.