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Mexico: Hurricane Patricia Eyes Mexico With Catastrophic Force

By AccuWeather.com — last modified Oct 23, 2015 04:33 PM
Patricia, a Category 5 hurricane (the strongest hurricane on record passing both Linda in the eastern Pacific and Wilma and Atlantic) with maximum sustained winds of 200 mph, will bring catastrophic wind and storm surge damage to southwestern Mexico later Friday into Friday night. This report by AccuWeather.com.

Published: 2015-10-22 23:00:00
Topics: Pacific Ocean East , Weather
Countries: Mexico

Read full report at www.AccuWeather.com

According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Becky Elliott, "Patricia rapidly intensified from a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 85 mph early Thursday to a 200-mph Category 5 hurricane 24 hours later." The central pressure of the storm dropped 100 mb during this time.

"There is no reason for Patricia to weaken significantly before making landfall, so the southwest coast of Mexico will likely be experiencing wind gusts of 185 mph or greater late Friday into Friday night," Elliott said.

In advance of the storm, officials declared a state of emergency in dozens of municipalities in the Mexican states of Colima, Nayarti and Jalisco according to the Associated Press. The governor of Colima also ordered that schools be closed on Friday.

A Category 1 hurricane moving ashore is dangerous enough, but a Category 5 storm is an entirely different matter. This escalates the amount of rain, wind and catastrophic damage to hit the area.

"Another perspective on Patricia is that with sustained winds of 325 km/h (200 mph) and gusts to 395 km/h (245 mph) Patricia is like a 15-20 mile wide EF-4 to EF-5 tornado," stated senior vice president and chief innovation executive of AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions Mike Smith.

"Currently, Patricia is expected to make landfall sometime Friday evening along the southern coast of Mexico, northwest of the city of Manzanillo," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Steve Travis.

"Areas along the coast can anticipate life-threatening flooding and storm surge along with destructive winds," said Travis.

With a forecast path to the west of Manzanillo, storm surge will also be a concern for the city and other locations to the east and south of where Patricia makes landfall. High winds from the south will funnel a great deal of water into any bays and channels as the center moves inland causing dangerous flooding.

"Manzanillo sits right in the center of a bay," AccuWeather Meteorologist Rob Miller explains. "Even though much of the city is not situated right on the beach, a significant storm surge of 6 to 8 meters (20 to 25 feet) is likely."

Although Patricia will reach the coastline as a dangerous hurricane, significant weakening is expected once the center of the storm moves inland.

"After battering the coast, Patricia will need to move over the Sierra Madre del Sur Mountains to continue northward," Travis added. "Trying to cross the mountains will weaken the system fairly quickly."

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