In a span of five days, a disastrous storm hit the Pacific coast of Mexico. This tropical storm was named the most powerful hurricane to ever occur in the Western Hemisphere. Hurricane Patricia’s intensity was enough to be declared a Category 5 hurricane, the worst category on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. This category means “catastrophic damage will occur”, such as homes being destroyed and destructive winds over 157 miles per hour or higher.
On October 22, Hurricane Patricia’s powerful winds reached 200 mph, increasing from 85 mph, with gusts reaching approximately 211 mph. Within 24 hours, the winds dropped from 200 mph to 30 mph. Along with the heavy winds, Mexico was expected to get 20 inches of rain, causing warnings of dangerous flash floods and mudslides to be distributed. There was a chance of 40 foot waves. The majority of places received over 11 inches of rain, with some Texas cities getting more than 14 inches. Mandatory evacuations were made in places where landslides were.
Hurricane Patricia is only the second recorded Category 5 hurricane to hit the Pacific coast since 1949. Hurricane Patricia has been compared to Typhoon Haiyan in terms of intensity. Typhoon Haiyan occurred in the Philippines in 2013, killing over 6,000 people. Haiyan’s winds reached up to 195 mph, almost as much as Patricia’s 200 mph winds. Considering the intensity of Hurricane Patricia, it is astounding that the death toll for this tropical storm was zero.