Parts of Mexico are at risk of major floods and landslides after Hurricane Patricia, the strongest storm recorded in the Americas, made landfall.
The storm touched down in western Mexico, bringing destructive winds and rain, but heavy damage appears to have been avoided.
The US National Hurricane Center said the hurricane hit as a Category Five storm – the highest classification.
It said “life-threatening flash floods and mudslides” were now likely.
The states of Nayarit, Jalisco, Colima, Michoacan, and Guerrero are in particular danger as the storm moves inland, the centre says.
Four hours after making landfall as the strongest recorded hurricane, Patricia weakened to a Category Four, and is likely to be downgraded to a tropical storm in the coming hours as it passes over mountainous regions.
“The first reports confirm that the damage has been smaller than that corresponding to a hurricane of this magnitude,” Mexico’s president, Enrique Pena Nieto, said in a televised address.
Mexican federal police said only “minor landslides and fallen trees” had so far been reported in Colima.
But the government has warned that ash from the Colima volcano, which has become increasingly active this year, could combine with heavy rainfall to trigger huge mudflows.
Some 400,000 people live in vulnerable areas, according to Mexico’s National Disaster Fund.
Some of the most powerful storms in recent years
October 1979: Typhoon Tip – largest and most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded with wind speeds of 305km/h (190mph), killed 99 people in its path across the Pacific, mostly in Japan
August 1980: Hurricane Allen – strongest Atlantic hurricane by wind speed, with sustained winds of 305km/h, caused nearly 300 deaths in Haiti and severe damage in the US state of Texas
April 1991: Bangladesh cyclone known as 02B – at least 138,000 died and up to 10 million made homeless after a 6m storm surge
October 1991: Odisha or Paradip cyclone – the strongest ever recorded in the northern Indian Ocean, killed about 10,000 people, mostly in India
August 2005: Hurricane Katrina – killed at least 1,836 people after striking US states of Louisiana and Mississippi and was the costliest storm in history, causing $81.2bn in damage (with wind speeds of 280km/h)
October 2005: Hurricane Wilma – most intense tropical cyclone in the Atlantic basin with wind speeds of 295km/h, killing 87 people on its path through the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico
November 2013: Typhoon Haiyan – the strongest storm recorded at landfall, with one-minute sustained wind speeds of 315km/h, it devastated parts of the Philippines, killing at least 6,300 people – BBC