The strongest storm ever recorded by the United States National Hurricane Center hovers near the southwest coast of Mexico in the Pacific this Friday. The storm is known as Hurricane Patricia, and it is a Category 5 hurricane featuring 200 mph sustained winds.
If Patricia does indeed make landfall on Mexico’s southwestern coast, it will likely prove to be extremely deadly. Category 5 hurricanes are the strongest types of storms, having winds in excess of 156 mph.
The National Hurricane Center said at 8am on Friday that the storm could very likely make landfall later today. The agency said that a landfall would be “potentially catastrophic”.
While the strength of the storm may fluctuate, it would most likely remain incredibly dangerous. Hurricane Patricia has the potential to cause widespread deaths and rampant destruction wherever it makes landfall.
The popular tourist destinations of Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco are said to be likely targets.
According to observers, Hurricane Patricia is the strongest hurricane ever recorded within the area of responsibility for the National Hurricane Center. The area of responsibility includes the Atlantic Ocean and the North Pacific Ocean basins.
The latest storm is said to be even stronger than that of Hurricane Andrew of 1992 and Hurricane Katrina of 2005.
Outside of the territory of the National Hurricane Center, some experts are reminded of Typhoon Haiyan, which caused 6,000 deaths in the Philippines in 2013.
As of Friday morning, Hurricane Patricia is about 145 miles southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico. It is currently moving north-northwest at about 12 mph and is expected to make landfall late Friday afternoon or Friday evening.
Hurricane warnings indicating that hurricane conditions are to be expected within the next 24 hours have been issued in areas from San Blas extending to Punta San Telmo.
In addition to extremely dangerous winds, meteorologists expect Hurricane Patricia to bring 8 to 12 inches of rain along the Mexican coast. Some areas could see as much as 20 inches.
Mexican schools along the Pacific coast were closed on Friday, ahead of the storm.