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Potentially Catastrophic Hurricane Patricia Makes Landfall in Mexico


October 23, 2015


This image from the PDC Global Hazards Atlas shows wind impacts as estimated by TAOS modeling software. Atlas Bookmark: http://atlas.pdc.org/atlas/?bookmark=9644

“Potentially catastrophic” Hurricane Patricia is expected to make landfall along the coast of Mexico as an extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane by Friday afternoon (at the earliest), according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). As of the most recent advisory, the hurricane warning area extended from San Blas to Punta San Telmo, with hurricane watches in effect from east of Punta San Telmo to Lazaro Cardenas. The NHC also advises that very heavy rainfall associated with Patricia—8 to 12 inches, with some areas receiving up to 20 inches—are likely to cause life-threatening flash floods and landslides through Saturday, in the Mexican states of Jalisco, Colima, Michoacan, and Guerrero. PDC is currently working with partners throughout the region, developing situational awareness products as response agencies prepare for the potential impacts of this historic storm.


This image from the PDC Global Hazards Atlas shows potential rainfall as estimated by TAOS modeling software. Atlas Bookmark: http://atlas.pdc.org/atlas/?bookmark=9645

Within 24 hours, Hurricane Patricia intensified from a Category 1 hurricane into the strongest Eastern North Pacific hurricane on record, according to analysis by NASA. As of 2100 UTC, Patricia is located 60 miles south of Manzanillo, Mexico, and sustaining winds at 190 miles per hour, and Patricia’s strength is being compared to the peak strength of Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated the Philippines in November 2013.

Media reports indicate that thousands of tourists and residents have been evacuated in preparation for landfall, with as many as 15,000 people expected to be evacuated from Puerto Vallarta in Jalisco state alone. Mexico’s national weather service is reporting that coastal areas of Michoacan, Colima, and Jalisco have begun experiencing the effects of Hurricane Patricia as the storm nears, bringing strong winds and high waves.

Hurricane Patricia is expected to maintain strength through landfall, though rapid weakening is also expected as it moves inland over the mountains of Mexico. Over the weekend, remnants of the cyclone may contribute to another weather system developing near the coast of Texas, United States, which may result in locally heavy rainfall over parts of the coast of Gulf of Mexico.

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Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) envisions a safer, more secure world—where populations live in more disaster-resilient communities informed by science and technology, and equipped with sound decision support tools. To help make that vision a reality, PDC is dedicated to supporting evidence-based disaster risk reduction (DRR) efforts by providing actionable information and applications to the public and disaster managers worldwide. PDC, a program managed by the University of Hawaii, was established by the U.S. government in 1996.