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Mexico's President Vows to Rebuild, Says Damage Could Have Been Worse

by Gabe Gutierrez and Phil Helsel /  / Updated 

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Mexico's president pledged to help areas affected by Hurricane Patricia, but said he was grateful the damage was not as bad as feared when the monster storm approached land.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto toured the damage in Armería, south of Manzanillo, Saturday.

Residents described terrifying winds that toppled homes and ripped down trees as the hurricane roared ashore Friday as a category 5 storm packing 165 mph winds.

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Flooding and debris in the aftermath of Hurricane Patricia is seen in Playa Paraiso, near Manzanillo, Saturday.Gabe Gutierrez / NBC Newsnull

There were no deaths reported. Hurricane Patricia quickly grew in intensity Thursday and by Friday had 200 mph winds and was being called the most powerful storm ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere.

More than 50,000 people were evacuated from coastal areas ahead of the storm, officials said.

The storm quickly lost power as it moved inland, and by 5 p.m. ET Saturday it had been downgraded to a remnant low pressure system, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

"We were fortunate as to where it made landfall. It was not a densely populated area," Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist and spokesman for the hurricane center, told The Associated Press.

Several hotels in Manzanillo were damaged as the hurricane made landfall. Cement power poles were snapped in the storm, and part of the main highway toward the coast near Colima collapsed.

In some small villages, houses were destroyed.

"I've lost everything, I don't even have anywhere to sleep," Roberto Gonzalez, a farmer, told Reuters as he salvaged belongings from mangled debris of trash, toys and branches strewn across his hamlet of Chamela near the coast of Jalisco state, which took a direct hit.

The remnants of the hurricane was moving northeast from Monterrey, Mexico, Saturday and was expected to bring rain to Texas, exacerbating rains that have flooded parts of the state. Houston was expecting up to 10 inches of rain overnight, Mayor Annise Parker said.

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