Hurricane Patricia destroyed 3,000 homes in Mexico

The soaking helped firefighters near Austin fully contain a long-simmering wildfire

Hurricane Patricia roared ashore in Mexico on Friday as a Category 5 terror that barrelled toward land with winds up to 200 mph.

President Enrique Pena Nieto said Saturday that 3,000 to 3,500 homes were damaged and about 8,650 acres of farmland were hurt.

Read: Strongest hurricane in Western hemisphere heads for Mexico

In Cihuatlan Valley, less than 10 kilometres from the Pacific, between 1,800 and 2,000 people depend directly on agriculture for livelihoods, said Narciso de Jesus Ramirez Rubio, a banana grower and president of the municipal small landowners association. That’s not counting their families.

But by Saturday afternoon, Patricia had downgraded to a tropical storm headed towards Texas.

Officials said months of sweltering Texas weather made for a more manageable drenching, which also fell at a steady rate instead of in buckets.

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“We had much drier grounds that could handle more of the rainfall and soak it in,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Scott Overpeck said. “We had drought conditions we were dealing with.”

Lessons learned from spring floods also seemed to keep more drivers out of danger, authorities said. Only roughly two dozen cars were towed from flooded roads in Houston and emergency crews responded to only a handful of rescues, said Francisco Sanchez, a spokesman for Harris County’s emergency management division.

“The public responded well. For the most part they heeded our warnings,” Sanchez said. No deaths in Texas were reported.

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The soaking helped firefighters near Austin fully contain a long-simmering wildfire that had burned 7 square miles and destroyed nearly 70 homes.

On Saturday, a Union Pacific freight train derailed before dawn Saturday near Corsicana, about 50 miles south of Dallas, because a creek overflowed and washed away the tracks, said Jeff DeGraff, a railroad spokesman. The two crew members swam to safety and nobody was hurt, and several rail cars loaded with gravel were partly submerged, he said.

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Transcontinental Media G.P.