The ingredients were looking good for storm developing for days
While the Atlantic remains quiet, Hurricane Patricia in the Eastern Pacific has become the strongest ever hurricane within the basin, with latest official measurements at 185mph (sustained surface winds), with higher gusts and a central pressure of 892mb (Recon data showed flight level winds of 179kt measured). Patricia is currently located less than 200 miles from the shores of Mexico, with landfall expected within the next 18 hours. A hurricane warning is in effect for San Blas to Punta San Telmo, an area which includes several large tourist resorts. Patricia has shown some remarkable rapid intensification over the past couple days, and it was just Wednesday when the storm was clocking in with winds of 65mph, 24 hours later she had reached 160mph – thanks to the assistance from high SSTs and a low shear environment.
Calls have been for the storm to weaken prior to landfall, but a lot of questions remain as to how much it may weaken prior before a potentially catastrophic landfall. If the storm makes landfall as a category 5 storm, it will only be the second category 5 landfall into Mexico on record, and the first in the last 50 years. There is a combined threat of extreme winds as well as heavy rainfall that is likely to lead to flooding, with models predicting between 6 and 12 inches over a fairly wide area.
For those interested in seeing just how big and bad storms can get, Patricia is definitely one to follow.
EDIT (07:20 Z): While the National Hurricane Center has not yet released a new advisory, data from the Recon has just conditions that support 200mph sustained winds and a central pressure of 880mb. If these numbers are officially recognized, it will make Patricia the strongest ever record storm in any basin.