A state of emergency has been declared over large sections along Mexico’s Pacific coast on Friday as Hurricane Patricia, listed now as a Category 5 and described as the “strongest storm ever measured on the planet.”
With sustained winds of over 160 mph and maximum speeds of 200 mph, the U.S. National Hurricane Center described Patricia as the “strongest hurricane on record” in eastern North Pacific Basins and forecasters are warning that coupled with those devastating winds, a powerful storm surge—featuring giagantic waves and massive inland flooding—could overwhelm coastal regions when it makes landfall in the coming hours.
“This is an extremely dangerous, potentially catastrophic hurricane,” said NHC meteorologist Dennis Feltgen.
Writing for the Weather Underground blog, meteorologist Bob Henson said that “history is being made” as experts assessed the size and strength of the unprecedented storm. “Late Thursday night,” Henson reports, “an Air Force Hurricane Hunter flight captured some of the most extreme observations ever recorded in 70 years of reconnaissance activity.”
In a subsequent post, Henson and his colleague Jeff Masters characterized the storm in even more dramatic terms:
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