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Q&A: A look at Mexican coast in path of Hurricane Patricia

A worker boards up the front of a waterfront business, as residents prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Patricia in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Friday, Oct. 23, 2015.  Patricia barreled toward southwestern Mexico Friday as a monster Category 5 storm, the strongest ever in the Western Hemisphere. Locals and tourists were either hunkering down or trying to make last-minute escapes ahead of what forecasters called a "potentially catastrophic landfall" later in the day. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

A worker boards up the front of a waterfront business, as residents prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Patricia in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Friday, Oct. 23, 2015. Patricia barreled toward southwestern Mexico Friday as a monster Category 5 storm, the strongest ever in the Western Hemisphere. Locals and tourists were either hunkering down or trying to make last-minute escapes ahead of what forecasters called a “potentially catastrophic landfall” later in the day. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Hurricane Patricia, the strongest storm recorded in the Western Hemisphere, was taking aim Friday at a stunning section of Mexico’s Pacific coast that includes the major commercial seaport of Manzanillo and the popular tourist destination of Puerto Vallarta.

The area under a hurricane warning also includes stretches of isolated fishing villages against the backdrop of rugged mountains that can produce dangerous flash floods and landslides.

Here’s a look at the region:

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WHERE IS PATRICIA PROJECTED TO HEAD?

A hurricane warning was in effect for the Mexican coast from the town of San Blas to the village of Punta San Telmo, and a broader area was under hurricane watch, tropical storm warning or tropical storm watch.

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HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE LIVING IN THE REGION?

According to the 2010 census, there were more than 7.3 million inhabitants in Jalisco state, with more than 255,000 in the Puerto Vallarta municipality. There were more than 650,000 people in Colima state, and more than 160,000 in Manzanillo, its largest city.

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WHAT IS THE BIGGEST TOURIST CITY IN THE AREA?

Puerto Vallarta is a top destination for Mexico’s $12 billion tourism industry, which ranks behind manufacturing, oil, remittances and foreign direct investment as the nation’s biggest source of revenue.

An iconic tropical getaway for many Americans, it was depicted in the 1964 movie “Night of the Iguana” with Richard Burton and Ava Gardner. The city has a large community of foreign residents. Many live in homes perched on dramatic hillsides overlooking the ocean.

The area’s tourism industry plummeted in the past decade over concerns about Mexico’s drug violence but has been rebounding recently with the return of several cruise lines.

Dotting the coastline are small fishing villages popular among surfers and backpackers, who sling hammocks under makeshift shelters made from palm fronds.

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WHAT IS THE BIGGEST PORT UNDER THE HURRICANE WARNING?

Manzanillo is Mexico’s main Pacific gateway for international trade. The port handles more than 25 million tons of cargo and nearly 2,000 freight vessel calls annually. Manzanillo International Terminal is one of Latin America’s largest container transshipment hubs. The city, called the “Sailfish Capital of the World,” also is known for its deep-sea fishing competitions, such as the Dorsey Tournament, and is a popular cruise ship destination.

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WHAT OTHER PLACES COULD SEE SIGNIFICANT RAINFALL?

Guadalajara is Mexico’s second largest city by population, with 1.4 million residents. With a picturesque colonial center, it is the birthplace of Mariachi music. It has a bustling art scene and several universities. Other popular tourist spots that could be affected include Lake Chapala near Guadalajara, where more than 30,000 Americans, mostly retirees, spend part of the year, and the town of Tequila, home to the popular liquor.

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This story has been corrected to show that Ava Gardner’s name was misspelled Eva.

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