Record breaking hurricane PATRICIA bearing down on western Mexico
We do not usually comment on meteorological conditions outside of the Atlantic/Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico basin, but strong category five hurricane PATRICIA is not something that we can ignore as it is being widely reported as the strongest hurricane ever recorded. Currently 115 miles southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico, and moving north at 8 knots with an expected turn to the north-east soon, this will accelerate and make a landfall around 2200 local time. A reconnaissance aircraft has buzzed the cyclone in the last 30 minutes and clocked up an eye pressure of 880 millibars. The UK Met Office has observed that this is “the lowest recorded pressure for any tropical cyclone globally for over 30 years”. Wind speeds of a terrifying 200 miles per hour, or 175 knots are being predicted, comparable with a Ferrari at full speed. Bursts of rainfall between 8 to 12 inches can be expected with up to 20 inches in isolated spots, flash flooding is almost a certainty. The windfield of highest winds is expected to be up to 50 miles in diameter and tropical storm force winds over a 180 mile diameter with potential for destruction over a large swath of the Mexican Pacific coast, including the tourist hot spots of Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco, The National Hurricane Centre forecasts an unspecified ‘ dangerous storm surge ... to produce significant coastal flooding near and to the right of where the centre makes landfall with large and destructive waves. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves'. This is going to be a horrid night.
Although the hurricane will dissipate over the high terrain of Mexico tomorrow, energy from PATRICIA will aid in the formation of a strong low in the western Gulf of Mexico along the middle to lower Texas coast on Saturday evening. This will strengthen early on Sunday as it moves north-east along the Texas coast reaching the Texas/Louisiana border area by Sunday evening then begin weakening by Monday morning. Conditions aloft will prevent tropical development however, sustained winds of 30 to 35 knots gusting 45 knots are likely for many areas offshore within 100 miles of the Texas and western Louisiana coasts as well as the coastal onshore areas. A tidal surge of 4 to 5 feet above normal tide levels during times of strong onshore winds is also possible, most likely along the upper Texas coast and western half of the Louisiana coast. In addition, very heavy rain is expected to cause widespread significant flooding this weekend for most of south Texas and east Texas extending into extreme western Louisiana.
Of little significance elsewhere in our reporting region, disturbance fifty six is now centred around 500 miles south-sou'east of Bermuda and a good 900 miles east of Florida and is not really expected to develop as it accelerates to the north-nor'east over the weekend.
Stand by western Mexico.