“Strongest Storm Ever Recorded” Breaks Up in Mountainous Area, Damages Minimal So Far

October 23, 2015

Above, scientists explain why climate change intensifies storms and precipitation.

BELOW – NBC News covers the story without mentioning the “C” word.


PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico (AP) — Record-breaking Hurricane Patricia pushed rapidly inland over mountainous western Mexico early Saturday, rapidly weakening to tropical storm force while dumping torrential rains that authorities warned could cause deadly floods and mudslides.

Patricia, which peaked as the strongest hurricane on record in the Western Hemisphere, made landfall Friday on a sparsely populated stretch of Mexico’s Pacific coast as a Category 5 storm, avoiding direct hits on the resort city of Puerto Vallarta and major port city of Manzanillo.

There were reports of some flooding and landslides, but no word of fatalities or major damage as the storm pushed across inland mountains while bypassing the metropolis of Guadalajara overnight.

Milenio TV carried footage of cars and buses being swept by floodwaters in the state of Jalisco.

“The first reports confirm that the damage has been less than those expected from a hurricane of this magnitude,” President Enrique Pena Nieto said in a taped address late Friday. He added, however, that “we cannot yet let our guard down.”


Patricia — the strongest hurricane ever recorded — barreled closer and closer Friday morning to Mexico’s Pacific coast, where residents have been told to brace for its 200-mph sustained winds and torrential rains.

The Miami-based meteorological center, in its 10 a.m. CT (11 a.m. ET) advisory, warned of a “potentially catastrophic landfall … in southwestern Mexico” late that afternoon or early evening. While its strength could fluctuate, “Patricia is expected to remain an extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane through landfall.”

Patricia has potential to cause massive death and destruction over a large swath of the Mexican Pacific coast, including the tourist hot spots of Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco.patriciaCiting observations by hurricane hunters, Patricia is “the strongest hurricane on record in the National Hurricane Center’s area of responsibility (AOR) which includes the Atlantic and the eastern North Pacific basins,” according to a Friday morning forecast discussion.

The closest contender, at this point, might be Hurricane Camille when it battered the U.S. Gulf Coast in 1969. Regardless, Patricia looks to be more powerful than that storm, Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Katrina in 2005 and many others.

It’s already surpassed them in one way: Its central pressure reading — the weight of the air above a system — which is a key measure of any storm’s strength.

The early Friday central pressure recording of 880 millibars (the barometric pressure equivalent is 25.98 inches) “is the lowest for any tropical cyclone globally for over 30 years,” according to the Met Office, Britain’s weather service.

Below, my interview with Hurricane expert Kerry Emanuel of MIT, after Sandy crushed the East Coast.


8 Responses to ““Strongest Storm Ever Recorded” Breaks Up in Mountainous Area, Damages Minimal So Far”

  1. Andy Lee Robinson Says:

    It is just astonishing how it came out of nowhere and went from a tropical depression to a cat 5 in one day. This is weather on steroids.
    Send the bill to Exxon et al.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      This is not “steroids” but warm water + moist air = feedback that causes rapid intensification that IS truly “astonishing”. But send the bill to every human on the planet who burns carbon-based fuel—-send Exxon et al to jail for being the pushers and enablers that got us hooked on fossil fuels

  2. dmf Says:

    Reblogged this on synthetic zero.

  3. neilrieck Says:

    Some experts are claiming Patricia should be rated cat 6 but the scale doesn’t go that high

    • dumboldguy Says:

      If the scale were extended, cat 6 would likely be another 20 mile range—176-196 mph. I remember reading that going above the cat 5 of 156-176 mph is kind of a waste of time, in that a strong cat 5 storm pretty much destroys everything, and the fact that the debris may be broken into smaller pieces and blown farther means little. A more important measure of a storm’s overall destructiveness may be its size, i.e., lateral extent—Sandy was not that “strong”, but pushed a lot of water into a large area.

      Also remember reading that 200mph was thought to be the theoretical limit but now folks are thinking we’ll see higher speeds as AGW causes intensification.

  4. Did the winds actually get up to 300 at one point? I heard that, but I’m not sure if it’s true.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Just watched the NBC Nightly News—-they talked of gusts to 235 mph.

      300 mph sounds unlikely, even as a gust—-the most powerful tornado ever recorded only got to ~335.

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