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Mississippi aid groups poised to respond as Hurricane Patricia looms

This satellite image taken at 8:45 p.m. EDT on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015, and released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Hurricane Patricia, left, approaching Mexico’s central Pacific Coast.
This satellite image taken at 8:45 p.m. EDT on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015, and released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Hurricane Patricia, left, approaching Mexico’s central Pacific Coast. AP

Mississippi relief groups are waiting for direction as Category 5 Hurricane Patricia barrels toward southwest Mexico.

Meteorologists have described Patricia as already being the strongest hurricane ever recorded, saying it could bring 200-mph winds to Mexico's shores.

"The American Red Cross is on high-alert status," said Anna Rogers, spokeswoman for the Gulfport office. "Preparedness is the most important thing right now."

Rogers said with the storm so close to land, groups must wait to see the devastation in order to know what level of relief to send.

"We are calling volunteers and getting everything ready," she said. "Once we receive direction from our national office, we will spring into action."

The storm was projected to make landfall Friday evening near tourist destinations Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo on Mexico's Pacific coast.

According to the United Nation's World Meteorological Organization, Patricia is comparable in power to Typhoon Haiyan, which hammered the Philippines in 2013 and left more than 7,000 dead.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency officials said they are required to focus more on relief for American states than international relief.

MEMA information officer Greg Flynn said they will wait for Texas to put in an aid request before deploying relief.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami reported west Texas faces heavy flooding from remnants of the storm, combining with current rainfall soaking the region.

"Once the damage is assessed, a state can put in a request and we will send people over," Flynn said. "South Carolina was the latest state to put in a request with us."

Flynn said MEMA is more than prepared to send help to Texas or any state that may need it as a result of the storm.

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