One of the largest and most dangerous hurricanes ever recorded is expected to make landfall late Friday night along the Pacific coast of Mexico.
Hurricane Patricia, now the strongest hurricane ever recorded, is expected to cause catastrophic damage across Mexico. The Hurricane, which has sustained winds over 200MPH, is projected to make landfall in the Mexican state of Jalisco Friday evening.
Although weather forecasters are still calling this a Category 5 Hurricane, the largest classification on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane scale, the Hurricane is literally off the charts. To be considered a Category 5 Hurricane, the storm must have wind speeds that exceed 157 mph. Since the categories run in roughly 20 mph increments, experts are suggesting that a new category 6 needs to be added to the Saffir–Simpson hurricane scale – but this storm is so large, it would be off the charts even if a 6th category was added.
Up until this point, no hurricane has ever been recorded that exceeded the 195 mph threshold. The previous record was set during Super Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines. During that storm weather researchers recorded one-minute sustained winds of 195 MPH.
Hurricane Patricia: Unprecedented Pacific Hurricane
Hurricane Patricia is not only the strongest when it comes to sustained winds, but it also holds the record for lowest pressure in any hurricane on record. At the 4 a.m. CDT, a minimum central pressure of 880 millibars was recorded, breaking the record of 882 millibars set by Hurricane Wilma in 2005.
Patricia is so intense that the Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft recorded sustained winds of 221 MPH at flight level a few thousand feet above the surface of the storm, and the latest pressure reports showed a drop down to 879mb.
— Eric Blake (@EricBlake12) October 23, 2015
Mexico on High Alert for Catastrophic Storm
Watches and Warnings are in effect for most of Mexico’s pacific coast. Patricia is expected to remain a Category 5 hurricane at landfall, with wind speeds that could exceed 157 mph. While its strength could fluctuate, “Patricia is expected to remain an extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane through landfall,” the U.S. National Weather Center said in its 1 p.m. CT (2 p.m. ET) advisory.
The storm is expected to dump 8 to 12 inches of rain over Jalisco, Colima, Michoacan and Guerrero. Forecasters are warning of major life-threatening flash-floods and dangerous winds that are expected to still exceed 70mph well into Saturday.
Mexican authorities have begun evacuating residents along the Pacific coast, and a State of Emergency has been declared across the region. 400,000 people are said to be within the danger zone. Mexico’s civil protection agency announced that they have opened up over 1,780 shelters and have mobilized a 50,000-strong force in Jalisco, Colima and Nayarit alone.
— Marcus Moore (@MarcusMoorewfaa) October 23, 2015
Hurricanes should never be taken lightly. Even Tropical Storm related rain and winds are enough to wreak havoc on a community Here are the steps you need to take to prepare for a Hurricane.