Hurricane Patricia is now the most intense hurricane ever recorded in the eastern Pacific Ocean — and made landfall with 165 mph winds.
The storm is now rated a category 5, the highest on the Saffir–Simpson scale. Before landfall, it had sustained winds of 200 mph, and gusts of up to 250 mph. “This makes Patricia the strongest hurricane on record in the National Hurricane Center’s area of responsibility, which includes the Atlantic and the eastern North Pacific basins,” said the National Hurricane Center. Patricia currently has a minumum central air pressure of 880mb, the lowest air pressure ever recorded in that region. It had “weakened” to 160 mph late Friday, according to the hurricane center.
In fact, Patricia is so powerful, the name Hurricane Patricia may be retired.
US Air Force pilots from the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron out of Mississippi experienced that power first-hand. They flew directly into Patricia. This storm is so powerful, it even made the pilots uneasy.
“They had quite a bit of turbulence going through the ‘eyewall’ which is the area of the strongest winds right before the center,” Lt. Colonel John Talbot, the squad’s chief meteorologist, told PRI’s The World. “They had a hard time fighting the aircraft and they were ready to head back after their three passes.”
Here’s a look at some other powerful hurricanes in the area, and how they compare to Patricia:
Hurricane Allen, 1980
Labor Day Hurricane 1935
Hurricane Gilbert, 1988
Hurricane Linda, 1997
Hurricane Mitch, 1998
Hurricane Wilma, 2005
Hurricane Katrina, 2005
1959 Mexico hurricane