An extremely dangerous, potentially catastrophic hurricane,’ warns the National Hurricane Center by
Jon Queally, staff writer
Hurricane Patricia became a Category 5 storm overnight and the National Hurricane Center has said it is the most powerful storm of its kind ever recorded on the planet. Mexico has declared a state of emergency over a massive area as landfall looms. (Photo: NOAA/National Hurricane Center)
A state of emergency has been declared over large sections along Mexico’s Pacific coast on Friday as Hurricane Patricia, listed now as a Category 5 and described as the “strongest storm ever measured on the planet.”
With sustained winds of over 160 mph and maximum speeds of 200 mph, the U.S. National Hurricane Center described Patricia as the “strongest hurricane on record” in eastern North Pacific Basins and forecasters are warning that coupled with those devastating winds, a powerful storm surge—featuring giagantic waves and massive inland flooding—could overwhelm coastal regions when it makes landfall in the coming hours.
“This is an extremely dangerous, potentially catastrophic hurricane,” said NHC meteorologist Dennis Feltgen.
Writing for the Weather Underground blog, meteorologist Bob Henson said that “history is being made” as experts assessed the size and strength of the unprecedented storm. “Late Thursday night,” Henson reports, “an Air Force Hurricane Hunter flight captured some of the most extreme observations ever recorded in 70 years of reconnaissance activity.”
In a subsequent post, Henson and his colleague Jeff Masters characterized the storm in even more dramatic terms:
Stunning, historic, mind-boggling, and catastrophic: that sums up Hurricane Patricia, which intensified to an incredible-strength Category 5 storm with 200 mph winds overnight. At 2:46 am EDT October 23, 2015 an Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft measured a central pressure of 880 mb in Patricia, making it the most intense hurricane ever observed in the Western Hemisphere. The aircraft measured surface winds of 200 mph, which are the highest reliably-measured surface winds on record for a tropical cyclone, anywhere on the Earth.