Jay Phagan/Creative Commons
Hurricane Patricia is now the most intense hurricane ever recorded in the eastern Pacific Ocean — and made landfall with 165 mph winds.
The storm is now rated a category 5, the highest on the Saffir–Simpson scale. Before landfall, it had sustained winds of 200 mph, and gusts of up to 250 mph. “This makes Patricia the strongest hurricane on record in the National Hurricane Center’s area of responsibility, which includes the Atlantic and the eastern North Pacific basins,” said the National Hurricane Center. Patricia currently has a minumum central air pressure of 880mb, the lowest air pressure ever recorded in that region. It had "weakened" to 160 mph late Friday, according to the hurricane center.
Here's what it looks like from space:
Hurricane #Patricia looks menacing from @ISS. Stay safe below, #Mexico. #YearInSpace #stormtracking #storms #space #weather #wx #hurricane #spacestation #iss
A photo posted by Scott Kelly (@stationcdrkelly) on
In fact, Patricia is so powerful, the name Hurricane Patricia may be retired.
US Air Force pilots from the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron out of Mississippi experienced that power first-hand. They flew directly into Patricia. This storm is so powerful, it even made the pilots uneasy.
"They had quite a bit of turbulence going through the 'eyewall' which is the area of the strongest winds right before the center," Lt. Colonel John Talbot, the squad's chief meteorologist, told PRI's The World. "They had a hard time fighting the aircraft and they were ready to head back after their three passes."
Here's a look at some other powerful hurricanes in the area, and how they compare to Patricia:
Allen made landfall in the Caribbean, Mexico, and the south of Texas. It had peak category 5 winds of 190 mph, the highest speed recorded in the Atlantic basin, and a minimum pressure of 899mb.
This historic category 5 hurricane had peak winds of 185 mph and central air pressure as low as 892mb. Its strong winds damaged buildings and derailed trains in the Florida Keys.
TSGT Michael J. Haggerty, U.S. Air Force/ Public Domain
This powerful eastern Pacific hurricane swung up toward the coast of California, it had peak winds of 185 mph and a minimum central pressure of 902mb.
United States Geological Survey/ Public Domain
The destructive hurricane Mitch blew over Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Belize and El Salvador. It had peak winds of 180 mph and a minimum central air pressure of 905mb.
Alejandro Aleph/ Public Domain
Rick Wilking RTW/CN
This hurricane had winds of up to 160 mph and a minimum central air pressure of 958mb. It was the only Pacific hurricane in history recorded at a landfall intensity of category 5, and submerged over 100 ships and ruined farm land.
Sources: Hurricanes: Science and Society, The National Hurricane Center
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