[Edit: Hurricane behaviour is notoriously hard to predict. After reaching extreme wind speeds above the Pacific, hurricane Patricia quickly disintegrated above land. The main damage might now be in extreme rainfall, flooding and possible mudslides - no longer direct wind damage. The Pacific Ocean is breaking several cyclone records this year. Meanwhile Atlantic hurricanes are rather silent. Read more in our special article about the influence of El Niño on Atlantic hurricanes.]
According to NOAA’s National Hurricane Center the tropical cyclone Patricia is already ‘the strongest eastern Pacific hurricane on record’. It is offically category 5, but if that scale would extend it would also easily fit as ‘category six’. Early Friday morning wind speeds already exceeded 200 miles per hour.
The storm is expected to make landfall on the Mexican West coast around 1 p.m. on Friday. By Saturday afternoon, the center of Patricia is expected to be in the middle of Mexico.
2015 is breaking all the Pacific cyclone records, in strength, number – and also in number of simultaneous Pacific hurricanes. These hurricanes are fueled by extremely warm Pacific Ocean waters, resulting from the current El Niño. Globally world average temperatures in 2015 are reaching their highest peak in recorded history – far above all the other recent ‘hottest years’.
© Rolf Schuttenhelm | www.bitsofscience.org