SAN BLAS, Mexico (AP) -- The majority of homes in this fishing village were blown to bits, dozens of other coastal areas were cut off completely and neck-high flood waters poured through the streets of Puerto Vallarta as Hurricane Kenna tore across Mexico's Pacific coast.
Merciless 140 mph winds uprooted trees, blew away roofs and sent cars hurtling through the air in San Blas, a village of 8,000 people that is popular with tourists. Kenna weakened to a tropical storm late Friday but continued to drench the mountains of northern Mexico with torrential rains.
Early estimates put the damage at more than $50 million.
Fearing flash floods, authorities as far north as the border state of Tamulipas began evacuating thousands of people from communities built near rivers and on hillsides. The National Hurricane Center in Miami reported that Kenna could regain strength once it reaches the warm Gulf of Mexico late Saturday.
There were no reports of deaths but authorities said more than 150 people in the coastal states of Jalisco, Nayarit and Sinaloa were injured by flying debris.
"Suddenly the wind came roaring in from the mountains and at the same time more wind carried water in from the sea. The two forces clashed in the middle," said Sergio Ramon Gonzalez, a 20-year-old police officer, who sat staring at the flood-soaked San Blas police station.
"Metal began to fly, trees crashed to the ground and roofs were ripped off of houses. It was really ugly."
Further south in Puerto Vallarta, which attracts more than 2 million tourists annually, waves flooded cobblestone streets, sending tourists and residents scrambling for higher ground. Downtown storefronts were smashed, upscale restaurants were battered and hotel swimming pools were flooded with seawater.
Emergency officials waded through neck-high waters, trying to restore power and phone service to the area. Police closed Puerto Vallarta's popular city center after receiving dozens of reports of looting.
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