MIAMI:With 200-mph sustained winds and even more powerful gusts, Hurricane Patricia was the strongest hurricane ever recorded by the U.S. National Hurricane Center as it bore down Friday on Mexico’s Pacific coast.The Miami-based meteorological center, in its 8 a.m. advisory, warned of a “potentially catastrophic landfall in southwestern Mexico” later Friday. While its strength could fluctuate, “Patricia is expected to remain an extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane through landfall.”Patricia has potential to cause massive death and destruction to a large swath of the Mexican Pacific coast, including the tourist hot spots of Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco.
Citing observations by hurricane hunters, Patricia is “the strongest hurricane on record in the National Hurricane Center’s area of responsibility (AOR) which includes the Atlantic and the eastern North Pacific basins,”.The closest contender, at this point, might be Hurricane Camille when it battered the U.S. Gulf Coast in 1969. Regardless, Patricia looks to be more powerful than Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Katrina in 2005 and many others.It’s already surpassed them in one way, central pressure — which essentially weighs the air above a system that’s a key measure of any storm’s strength.
The early Friday central pressure recording of 880 millibars (the barometric pressure equivalent is 25.98 inches) “is the lowest for any tropical cyclone globally for over 30 years,” according to the Met Office, Britain’s weather service.Patricia’s intensity is comparable to Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines in 2013, the World Meteorological Organization tweeted. 60,000 peeople died due largely to enormous storm surges that rushed through coastal areas