Hurricane Patricia in the Pacific Ocean rapidly became a Category 5 “potentially catastrophic hurricane” Thursday, according to forecasters. Government officials suddenly warned Baja California Sur residents to rapidly prepare for the dangerous super storm, that intensified over the hottest water in recorded history from a tropical storm into a monster packing 160MPH sustained winds within 24 hours, threatening life and property. 50,000 evacuations began late Thursday, ahead of the super storm expected to land Friday.
“Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion today,” the National Hurricane Center in Miami said Thursday night after Hurricane Patricia quickly grew from a 65MPH tropical storm into a Category 5 hurricane, causing authorities to scramble in attempt to make people safe.
“Satellite images indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 160 mph (260 kph) with higher gusts,” the center reported.
Approximately 50,000 people are expected to be evacuated by Friday afternoon, according to civil protections in the three states, about the time the storm is expected to hit. Civil Protections began evacuating throughout the coastal areas of Colima, Jalisco, and Nayarit, including an estimated 20,000 in the Vallarta-Nayarit area.
Late Thursday evening, Patricia was about 360 kilometers south of Manzanillo, moving northwest at 20 kph on a projected track to land between Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta sometime Friday afternoon or evening as an extremely dangerous storm, although weakened. A hurricane warning is in effect from Mexico’s coastal San Blas to Punta San Telmo, an area including resort cities Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo.
Not only Patricia’s expected deadly winds have Mexicans preparing for a worst case scenario. Destructive waves, heavy rain and thus landslides are probable.
Manzanillo’s “main street really floods and cuts access to a lot of other streets. It ends up like an island,” explained a resident Alejandra Rodriguez.
At least two states cancelled school classes, hotels are boarded, and residents have attempted to stay out of harm’s way by taping their home windows. A category 5 damage averages over five billion dollars, unimaginable for Americans poor neighbors to the south.
Forecast models indicate that after the storm breaks over land, its tropical moisture will likely combine with and contribute to heavy rainfall in the area and all the way to Texas, already soaked independently of the hurricane, according to center meteorologist Dennis Feltgen.
“It’s only going to make a bad situation worse,” he said.
To see the module of possible paths, see here.
In August, Dupré reported on this year’s powerhouse El Nino due to global warming threatening lives with historic rain-related devastation:
“Pacific Ocean temperatures rising three to six degrees warmer than average due to global warming have spurred a Super El Nino Watch to be issued, with anticipated historic rain-related devastation to develop, such as floods and landslides. Federal climate experts have become increasingly confident that a strong El Nino will drench drought-stricken California and northern Mexico this winter, possibly starting as soon as October, bringing with it deep concerns about human rights to health and safety, survival.”