Hurricane Patricia brings 165-mph winds to Mexico

Hurricane Patricia is the strongest tropical cyclone, in terms of low barometric pressure and high wind speed, ever known to make landfall on the Pacific coast of Mexico or ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere, and it’s pounding our neighbor to the south with massive flooding and 30-foot storm surges, The Weather Channel reports.

At sea, sustained winds were known to be as high as 200 mph. At 6:15 PM CDT, the eye of Hurricane Patricia made landfall near Cuixmala in Jalisco state of southwest Mexico. Maximum sustained winds at landfall were estimated at 165 mph. Patricia was therefore a Category 5 hurricane when it made landfall. As of 10 PM CDT, sustained winds were around 130 mph, making it a Category 3 hurricane as it moves inland.

The hurricane was reported to have ideal conditions for strong storm development: calm winds so nothing would break it up and long stretches of warm water.

“You had to feel how the air trembled,” the New York Times quoted Yael Barragan, a trucking service coordinator in the port city of Manzanillo, as saying. He was huddled in his home with five children and four other adults.

By Saturday morning, the storm is expected to weaken to a tropical storm and by late Saturday, to a tropical depression. The Pacific coast is dotted with small fishing villages and resorts, but evacuations were under way several hours before the storm arrived. If landfall had occurred over a more populated area, the loss of life or property would have been much worse, given that Patricia made landfall as a Category 5 storm.

The government of Mexico declared a state of emergency in several towns in the states of Colima, Nayarit, and Jalisco, the Times reported. And even though the strength of the storm is expected to decrease quickly over land, the damage from flooding and high winds will have already been done.

Lesser storms have caused great destruction, and this is the strongest hurricane ever. #PrayForMexico.

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Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.