Hurricane Patricia—the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded—made landfall on Mexico’s west coast last Friday as a powerful category five, the first scale-topper to strike North America in eight years. The storm managed to pack winds of 200 MPH before making landfall, which is about as strong as a tropical cyclone can get—as far as we know, anyway.
Hurricane Patricia is making its way inland this evening after making landfall on Mexico’s west coast about 55 miles northwest of Manzanillo. The storm had astonishing winds of 165 MPH at landfall. Patricia became the strongest hurricane ever recorded after it maxed-out with 200 MPH winds for about 18 hours on Friday. The storm is also one of the strongest to ever make landfall in North America.
Shortly after midnight on October 23, 2015, a group of courageous men and women flew into the center of Hurricane Patricia and landed in the history books. With measured winds of 200 MPH, Hurricane Patricia became the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded anywhere on Earth. Let that sink in for a moment.
Astonishing meets record-breaking. Category five Hurricane Patricia exceeded all odds early Friday morning, with a Hurricane Hunter aircraft recording maximum sustained winds of 185 MPH and a minimum central pressure of 892 millibars. By air pressure, this is now the strongest storm ever recorded in the eastern Pacific, and it ties with 1997’s Hurricane Linda as the basin’s strongest storm by one-minute sustained wind speed.
Hurricane Patricia is now a “potentially catastrophic,” scale-topping category five hurricane with maximum winds of 185 MPH. This is a rare scenario in which it cannot be hyped or overstated how much danger this storm poses to communities on Mexico’s west coast, including Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo, and the numerous small towns between the two.
Hurricane Patricia, the umpteenth tropical cyclone to form in the Pacific Ocean so far this year, exploded into a ferocious category four hurricane this afternoon with winds of 130 MPH. The “extremely dangerous” hurricane could strengthen even further before making landfall on Mexico’s west coast on Friday evening.
For the second time in as many months, we’re dealing with “twin typhoons” out in the western Pacific Ocean, and the stronger of the two is on a collision course with the Philippines. The typhoon is moving slowly, and the models don’t paint a pretty picture for the northern half of the country as it passes through over the next couple of days.
Typhoon Dujuan crashed into Taiwan on Monday with winds equivalent to those of a category four hurricane. One weather station near the eye reported wind gusts of 153 MPH during the height of the storm. The typhoon also produced more than two feet of rain, forcing the evacuation of thousands for fear of landslides and flooding, closing schools and businesses, and even triggering a water outage for more than a million people in the Taipei area.
The decaying remnants of a tropical depression will move through the desert southwest over the next couple of days, dragging with it enough tropical air that residents might think they woke up in southern Florida. This excess moisture will lead to very heavy rain that could easily produce flash flooding in vulnerable areas.
A tropical cyclone is an iconic storm that strikes fear (or laughter) in the heart of coastal residents around the world. Most of these low pressure systems over the ocean are weak, but some can grow into monsters. If they’re all the same kind of storm, though, why do we call them different names around the world?
Summer weather is characterized by long periods of mind-numbing monotony followed by short bursts of terrifying chaos. We’re in one of those chaotic periods right now, where the August doldrums collapsed and gave us a tiny but powerful hurricane in the Atlantic, and a potential hurricane threatening Hawaii next week.
Fraternal twins were born in the western Pacific Ocean this weekend. Two typhoons—Goni and Atsani—developed at the same time within a few hundred miles of each other, but each storm took on a life of its own and will have dramatically different outcomes. Typhoon Goni poses the greatest threat to land, coming dangerously close to countries like Taiwan and Japan.
Typhoon Soudelor hit Taiwan this weekend with winds equivalent to those seen in a category three hurricane, causing immense damage and killing more than 20 people. Despite its power and destruction as a typhoon, Soudelor will be remembered for giving us one of the most dramatic tornado videos ever released.
Typhoon Soudelor is poised to make landfall on the east coast of Taiwan with winds of about 115 MPH, which makes it the equivalent of a category three on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. The island can expect destructive winds, torrential rainfall, landslides, and a damaging storm surge in coastal communities. Soudelor will make a second landfall in China on Sunday afternoon (local time) as a significantly weaker storm, but still a heavy rain producer.
Typhoon Soudelor poses a grave threat to Taiwan later this week as the powerful tropical cyclone swirls closer to the island off the southeast coast of China. The storm has weakened since it produced 180 MPH winds on Monday, but it’s predicted to restrengthen to a destructive category four before landfall on Friday.
This swirling mass of terror above is Super Typhoon Soudelor in the western Pacific, which is the strongest tropical cyclone we’ve seen in 2015, packing winds of 180 MPH (and gusts to 220 MPH) as it makes its way toward East Asia later this week. Meanwhile, a much weaker tropical storm is heading toward Hawaii.
Hurricane activity in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans really begins to pick up intensity at the beginning of August, building up to the peak of the seasons in the middle of September. Right on cue, we have our seventh named storm in the eastern Pacific—possibly threatening Hawaii—while the Atlantic Ocean is dead quiet.
Hawaii is typically a place people think of with a wistful sigh: tropical beaches, lush greenery, and weather so reliable the forecast hardly budges. The fiftieth state has had a hard time living up to that third point, and the state’s long-lasting drought could return and get worse if El Niño lives up to its bluster.
Asia and the Pacific Islands are getting slammed by the tropics this year, as storm after storm spins up and tears toward land, threatening millions with ferocious winds and dangerous surges of water. Here in the U.S., though, it’s quiet—almost too quiet—and it’s likely going to stay that way for a little while longer.
Just one week after a powerful Hurricane Blanca stared down Cabo San Lucas with the steely gaze of its eye, a burgeoning tropical system in the eastern Pacific could threaten another major tourist destination: Acapulco, Mexico. A newly-developed tropical depression is expected to become a hurricane as it comes dangerously close to the city this weekend.