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Hurricane Patricia

October 24, 2015

Hurricane Patricia 

 

We often hear in the news about the destruction of tornadoes. When we feel the wrath of an EF-5 tornado, the world is in awe of its power and devastation. Typically an EF-5 tornado, the strongest category on the Enhanced Fujita Tornado Scale, has wind speeds of over 200 mph, with the power to 100% level entire communities. These tornadoes can get to be 1 to 2 miles wide, with the widest ever recorded to be a 2013 tornado in El Reno, Oklahoma. This tornado, an EF-3 tornado, was about 2.6 miles in total width. With that in perspective, look at what is occurring in western Mexico. Hurricane Patricia, an F-5 Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, currently has sustained winds of 200 mph, with gusts well over 240 mph. This hurricane has the lowest air pressure ever recorded in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, and the strongest for the entire National Hurricane Center forecasting area in general. The strongest winds in a hurricane are typically found around its eye, the center of the hurricane, in an area of intense thunderstorms and rain bands known as the eye wall. Hurricane Patricia’s eye wall may extend upwards of 5 to 6 miles in width. With the size and intensity of this storm in its current state, Coastal Mexico could be on the verge of virtually seeing EF-5 tornado like conditions across an area of over 5 miles wide. Knowing the damage that an EF-5 tornado creates, we can only assume that things do not look good for those in the direct path of this hurricane. Surge, rainfall, and runoff flooding from inland mountains are all also of major concern, but the wind has the potential to take the destruction typically found in hurricanes to unprecedented levels. For updated forecasts and advisories on Hurricane Patricia, follow this link to the National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

 

 

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