Original notes with links in the next post
Mexico's National Commission for Water, CONAGUA, said the eye of Patricia has a diameter of 10 kilometers, or 6.21 miles.
The closest contender to its size, at this point, might be Hurricane Camille, which battered the U.S. Gulf Coast in 1969. Patricia looks to be more powerful than that storm, as well as stronger than Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Katrina in 2005 and many others.
Patricia's intensity is comparable to Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines in 2013, the World Meteorological Organization tweeted. More than 6,000 people died in Haiyan, due largely to enormous storm surges that rushed through coastal areas. Haiyan had 195 mph sustained winds when it made landfall, while Typhoon Tip was at 190 mph (and had a slightly lower pressure reading of 870 millibars) in 1979.
The speed of that transformation took meteorologists by surprise.
Hurricane Patricia was so enormous that Scott Kelly, the American astronaut aboard the International Space Station, posted a photo on Twitter of the storm with the warning: “It’s massive. Be careful!”
Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist and spokesman for the National Hurricane Center in the United States said Friday morning that the hurricane could inflict catastrophic damage and leave areas uninhabitable for weeks or months.
Before the hurricane struck, the World Meteorological Organization warned that its strength was comparable to that of Typhoon Haiyan, which caused devastation in the Philippines in 2013.
In the United States, only three Category 5 storms that made landfall have been recorded, Mr. Feltgen of the National Hurricane Center said: a 1935 hurricane that killed more than 400 people; Hurricane Camille, which hit Mississippi and killed 244 people in 1969; and Hurricane Andrew, which hit Florida in 1992, killing at least 10 people there and three in the Bahamas.
The storm will make landfall later Friday in a populated part of Mexico's Pacific coast, potentially wiping out tourist resorts and anything else in its path between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo. The storm may strengthen or weaken some before it strikes land, but it is likely to still be a Category 5 storm at landfall,
The National Hurricane Center is warning of a "POTENTIALLY CATASTROPHIC LANDFALL" in southwestern Mexico later on Friday.
While the storm is the most intense in the western hemisphere, it is also extremely compact, with its buzzsaw-like area of hurricane force winds observed in a tight core extending only 30 miles away from the center of the storm.
Some computer model forecasts actually bring the storm ashore with sustained winds of an unheard-of 220 miles per hour, but those projections may be overdone.
Kerry Emmanuel, a hurricane expert at MIT, told Mashable in an email on Friday that the lack of a consistent record of eastern Pacific storms using hurricane hunter flights makes it difficult to determine if there is a global warming-related trend in such storms. Such flights are typically flown in the Atlantic and only occasionally in the eastern Pacific, so this was an exceptional case.
"There is no question that this is an exceptionally intense tropical cyclone," he wrote. "But I wonder whether we really know that prior storms in the region have not been equally intense and we are just lucky to have measured this one."
If the worst case scenario unfolds and the strongest part of this storm hits a populated area, the human suffering will be immense by any standard, let alone what we think can happen in this day and age. The loss of life from wind, surge, and flooding will be enormous, but the deep horror of the lasting effects—crippled infrastructure, illnesses, lack of food, water, clothing, and shelter—will linger for months after the storm dissipates.
We’ve seen world history today, and that might not even be the start of it.
My note: lots of if's in this article, a dependable sign of fear mongering?
NBC News meteorologist Bill Karins warned that Patricia would be "the most devastating storm to ever hit Mexico" with "catastrophic damage" likely between the posh resort of Puerto Vallarta and the bustling port city of Manzanillo.
CONAGUA, the Mexican national water commission, predicted waves about 40 feet at landfall.
Locals in coastal areas said Friday morning brought an eerie calm before the storm. "It's a beautiful morning in my neighborhood," said Jane Gorby, a California native who has lived for 15 years in the town of La Manzanilla. She said the severity of the pending storm snuck up on residents in a region used to hurricanes, and left them scrambling for a potentially unprecedented event.
"People were complacent, blasé, cavalier, but there's never been a storm like this before," Gorby said. "It's been a (Category) 1, 2, 3, 4. Now I wake up and it's a 5."
Gorby, like most residents, planned to ride out the storm in La Manzanilla, last hit hard by Hurricane Jova in 2011. "I have tequila. I have cat food. I have things to calm my nerves," she said. "I don't know how you prepare for something like this."
The storm is comparable to Typhoon Haiyan, which killed 6,300 people in the Philippines in 2013, the World Meteorological Organization says.
Haiyan killed more than 6,300 people and wiped out or damaged practically everything in its path as it swept ashore on 8 November 2013, destroying about 90% of the city of Tacloban in Leyte province.
The storm, which is a Category 5, the highest rating possible, had been expected to weaken somewhat before making landfall in the hurricane warning area by Friday afternoon or evening, the Miami-based hurricane center said earlier.
The interior minister, Miguel Ángel Osorio, told Mexico’s Radio Formula on Friday morning that officials are especially worried about the safety of people in the Puerto Vallarta, in Jalisco state, and in the nearby community of Bahía de Banderas, in Nayarit state.
"This is really, really, really strong," WMO spokeswoman Clare Nullis told a U.N. briefing in Geneva, according to Reuters.
"We are calm," said Gabriel Lopez, a worker at Las Hadas Hotel in Manzanillo. "We don't know what direction (the storm) will take, but apparently it's headed this way. ... If there is an emergency we will take care of the people. There are rooms that are not exposed to wind or glass."
Patricia is a "small" storm — the most powerful winds don't extend very far beyond its eye, perhaps only about 30 or 40 miles.
Also, the storm surge from Patricia might not be as bad given the rapid intensification
By Friday morning, Patricia's power was comparable to that of Typhoon Haiyan, which displaced millions of people and left more than 7,300 dead or missing in the Philippines in 2013.
Hurricane Patricia’s arrival bears an eerie resemblance to another hurricane that swept into Mexico’s west coast in October of 1997 -- the year that gave the world the strongest El Niño ever recorded. Hurricane Pauline killed an estimated 230 people in Guerrero and Oaxaca states of southern Mexico as it made landfall in the city of Acapulco.
The National Hurricane Center, with official forecasting responsibility for the Atlantic and eastern Pacific, all but ran out of words to describe the storm’s ferocity, labeling it “potentially catastrophic” and “incredible.” On Twitter, professional weather watchers went a step further, marveling at the storm’s record-breaking ability and fearing for Mexico’s coastal cities. Such a scenario—a quickly strengthening storm of unprecedented strength headed straight for land—is the stuff of meteorologists’ nightmares.
The storm threatens to be the strongest ever to hit Mexico’s Pacific coast, surpassing a 1959 hurricane that also ranks as the deadliest in that part of the Pacific
It’s difficult to compare tropical cyclones in the western Pacific, called typhoons, and eastern Pacific hurricanes if only because routine aircraft measurements don’t exist in the western Pacific. Unlike Patricia, Haiyan was never directly measured by an aircraft, so we don’t know its true intensity.
In fact, Patricia is now very close to the theoretical maximum strength for a tropical cyclone on planet Earth.
If there is any good news, it’s that Patricia’s incredibly strong winds are concentrated into a narrow region near its core. The latest National Hurricane Center advisory shows Patricia’s peak winds are confined to a span of just 15 miles across the center, which should help limit its impact at the time of landfall. Still, that’s little consolation for those in the storm’s direct path.
Eric Holthaus is a meteorologist
Impact from precursor disturbance - lots of damage before it made the news as a hurricane.
Hurricane Patricia made landfall in Jalisco as a Category 4 hurricane
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