An anonymous reader writes: Patricia — the strongest hurricane ever recorded — barreled closer and closer Friday to Mexico's Pacific coast, where residents have been told to brace for its 200-mph sustained winds and torrential rains. The early Friday central pressure recording of 880 millibars (the barometric pressure equivalent is 25.98 inches) "is the lowest for any tropical cyclone globally for over 30 years," according to the Met Office, Britain's weather service. One other thing alarming about Patricia is its rapid rise in intensity. It rated as a tropical storm early Thursday, but 24 hours later it had become a Category 5 hurricane. Among other effects, El Niño has contributed to ocean waters off Mexico being 2 to 3 degrees warmer than usual. "That warm water from El Niño probably just pushed this slightly over the edge to be the strongest storm on record," CNN's Myers said.