Friday, October 23, 2015

Hurricane Patricia, Strongest, Most Dangerous On Record, Blasts Mexico

Hurricane Patricia with its tiny pinhole eye early
this morning. It is the strongest hurricane on
record in the Western Hemisphere.  
Hurricane Patricia is incredible. It went from a so-so Category 1 storm with 85 mph yesterday morning to the strongest hurricane on record in the Western Hemisphere, with 200 mph sustained winds.

It's going to come ashore today not far from the resort city of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico as a Category 5 storm. Winds will probably still be sustained near 200 mph when it blasts ashore. Of course there will be higher gusts.

You always hear, historic storm, historic storm for every seemingly bad tempest. But Hurricane Patricia is truly historic.

It is, as noted, THE strongest hurricane ever officially observed in the Western Hemisphere - which includes the eastern Pacific Ocean and the entire Atlantic Ocean.

The way to gauge a hurricane's strength is to measure how low the air pressure gets at the center. The lower the pressure, the stronger the storm.

At last check the air pressure at the center of Patricia was 880 millibars, or 25.99 inches of mercury. That beats the record set by Hurricane Wilma in the western Caribbean Sea exactly 10 years ago, which got down to 882 millibars.

Sunrise on monster Hurricane Patricia this morning
Of course, Patricia is the strongest hurricane on record in the eastern Pacific, beating Hurricane Linda in 1997.

El Nino, the periodic warming of the eastern Pacific Ocean, contributed to Patricia's strength. It's no surprise that both Linda and Patricia hit during strong El Ninos.

The warmer the water, the more likely a hurricane will be able to strengthen. So there you go.

Hurricane Patricia also intensified far, far, more quickly than most hurricanes do. As I noted, 85 mph to 200 mph in less than 24 hours is incredible.

Incredible is the word to use when describing how the impact is going to be on the Mexican coast.

At this point, it looks like landfall will be a little south of Puerto Vallarta. It looks like it might come ashore close to the city of Manzanillo, which has a population of over 100,000.

With winds of 200 mph, basically imagine one of those ultra strong Oklahoma tornadoes that destroy entire towns. But instead of the tornado being a mile wide, the destruction with this will be like a strong tornado that is more than 20 or 30 miles wide.

And the full force of Hurricane Patricia will last hours in any one place, not minutes, like a tornado would. I don't know how you survive that.

Waves on the Mexican coast could reach 40 feet high, too. Plus up to a foot of rain will fall in a short period of time.

Once Hurricane Patricia moves inland, it will smack into tall southwestern Mexican mountains. Such tall mountains will make Patricia fall apart fast, and will be remnant low over central Mexico with just 25 mph winds by Saturday afternoon.

But even then, Hurricane Patricia won't be done, uh-uh!

A non-tropical storm system is likely to get going along the Texas coast this weekend. That storm will draw incredible amounts of moisture from Hurricane Patricia or its remnants.

Texas has already had some flooding from a slow moving storm system this week, and the Patricia moisture will  unleash even more high water. Much more. Up to 10 inches of rain is forecast for parts of Texas in the upcoming week.

The storm system with its moisture from Patricia is likely to spread heavy rain as far north as New England by next Thursday.

Meanwhile, let's hope people were able to evacuate ahead of Patricia in Mexico. And lets pray that the strongest part of Patricia hits very sparsely population sections of Mexico.

No comments:

Post a Comment