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Earth Science

Landfall Nears For Strongest Hurricane In Recorded History (cnn.com) 273

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.
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Landfall Nears For Strongest Hurricane In Recorded History

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 23, 2015 @03:30PM (#50789671)

    Perhaps Cat 5 isn't enough anymore. Cat 6 has more twisters than Cat 5.

    • by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Friday October 23, 2015 @03:32PM (#50789695)
      Cat 5e.
    • by ooshna ( 1654125 )

      :Insert joke comparing cat 5 and 6 cables here:

  • As expected (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chris Johnson ( 580 ) on Friday October 23, 2015 @03:34PM (#50789719) Homepage Journal

    Science knows this would happen. Ever since we started unlocking the secrets of chaotic systems this has been well understood. Climate’s the biggest chaotic system there is.

    There is nothing weird about this at all. This is the new direction. Not the new normal because that implies they’re all going to be like this from now on. The reality’s worse.

    The new normal is for each new weather disaster to be ‘unprecedented and weird’ and it’s been happening for years already and not slowing down but speeding up.

    Alarmist? Fuck yes. Alarms are necessary and this is what they’re for. We are soon going to need to concentrate on clinging to life on this fucking planet, never mind ‘fighting climate change’. Climate’s WAAAAAY bigger than us. We’re pretty smart humans and we’ll succeed in adapting, but it’s gonna look like colonizing Venus and Mars put together, and one hell of a lot of innocent people will die in vast numbers trying to survive this.

    Maybe we can string up some Koches at some point to make ourselves feel better, because this was DONE by the decisions of stupid people, much like an avalanche can be kicked off by a person pushing over a snowbank.

    Failing that, somebody film this. Media might not want to undermine vested interests, but media can’t help but drool over footage of outrageous unthinkable destruction. Use that. Which is to say: please, dronebros, go and get your wealthy asses famous. It will be awesome footage, guaranteed ;P

    • colonizing Venus and Mars put together,

      I'm climate stabilization action now supporter #1 and have put tens of $thousands where my mouth is but to be fair we can at least breath the air...unless you literally mean it will be like living on a planet where Venus and Mars have been merged somewhere in the middle resulting in a planet pretty much exactly like the Earth and thus will face the exact same challenges we face now.

    • Which is to say: please, dronebros, go and get your wealthy asses famous. It will be awesome footage, guaranteed ;P

      The problem is, it's hard to fly a drone in 200 MPH winds...

    • Humans have been saying this since the advent of communication, although the original translation involved a bunch of clicks and grunts, usually aided by violently waiving one's arrow up to the sky and cursing the gods whose climate he doesn't understand.
    • Science knows this would happen. Ever since we started unlocking the secrets of chaotic systems this has been well understood.

      I KNEW IT! It's the damn scientists fault!

      See--the AGW people are right! It's not that the scientists are making money off their climate studies, it's that they screwed up and created this mess by studying it! See? It's like that whole Schrodinger's Cat thing! Everything was fine until they started studying this stuff and now look at the mess we're in. They're just trying to cover their asses!

      Get the pitchforks out! Let's get 'em!

  • by Anon-Admin ( 443764 ) on Friday October 23, 2015 @03:38PM (#50789743) Homepage Journal

    From the article
    "Patricia the third strongest tropical cyclone in history (by wind)

    Super Typhoon Nancy (1961), 215 mph winds, 882 mb. Made landfall as a Cat 2 in Japan, killing 191 people.
    Super Typhoon Violet (1961), 205 mph winds, 886 mb pressure. Made landfall in Japan as a tropical storm, killing 2 people.
    Super Typhoon Ida (1958), 200 mph winds, 877 mb pressure. Made landfall as a Cat 1 in Japan, killing 1269 people.
    Super Typhoon Haiyan (2013), 195 mph winds, 895 mb pressure. Made landfall in the Philippines at peak strength.
    Super Typhoon Kit (1966), 195 mph winds, 880 mb. Did not make landfall.
    Super Typhoon Sally (1964), 195 mph winds, 895 mb. Made landfall as a Cat 4 in the Philippines.
    "
    Its a big one but not the strongest on record. From the look of it, they tend to happen every few years so not even a weather anomaly.

    • It's not entirely happened yet so this is a fine time to say 'it's not much of a hurricane'. Please wait until all the people have been killed before coming around all 'climate change is a myth and this was no big deal'.

      • by sycodon ( 149926 )

        Then maybe you can wait until it actually occurs and we have real information before you run around claiming we will all die.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 23, 2015 @03:45PM (#50789789)

      Did you RTFA?

      Highest reliably-measured:
      "The aircraft measured surface winds of 200 mph, which are the highest reliably-measured surface winds on record for a tropical cyclone, anywhere on the Earth."

      The other ones aren't reliable:
      "However, it is now recognized (Black 1992) that the maximum sustained winds estimated for typhoons during the 1940s to 1960s were too strong. The strongest reliably measured tropical cyclones were both 10 mph weaker than Patricia, with 190 mph winds—the Western Pacific's Super Typhoon Tip of 1979, and the Atlantic's Hurricane Allen of 1980."

    • To be fair, they just left out the phrase "in North America...", and for some reason title real-estate is at a premium.

      • by Qzukk ( 229616 )

        The story I read was "strongest hurricane out of all the storms in places where giant storms are called hurricanes" so the typhoons didn't count.

    • You missed the bit where it's in the east pacific. Historically the west pacific typhoons are stronger. It's like comparing a tornado in California to ones in Kansas. An F4 tornado in LA would be a statistical anomaly where as Kansas gets one pretty regularly.

      • A F4 tornado in California would probably cause more damage because their cities probably aren't built with tornadoes in mind. They like to use natural obstacles that keep tornadoes from forming like rivers and bluffs.

    • by sstamps ( 39313 ) on Friday October 23, 2015 @03:48PM (#50789813) Homepage

      It clearly said "strongest hurricane", which is true. Typhoons are on the other side of the Pacific ocean. Hurricanes are only in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific.

      "They happen every few years". 50 years is not what I would call "few". If so, I would only be a "few" years old.

      • This thing has higher winds but is more like a tornado. It's hurricane winds are about 25 miles wide vs Katrina which was 125 miles. The flooding required a large wall of wind to really pile up the water. This is more like Charlie in 2004 which had really fast but narrow winds.

    • From the article
      "However, it is now recognized (Black 1992) [noaa.gov] that the maximum sustained winds estimated for typhoons during the 1940s to 1960s were too strong. The strongest reliably measured tropical cyclones were both 10 mph weaker than Patricia...".

      • by sycodon ( 149926 )

        Because MPH was defined differently back then. In black and white, or something.

        • According to what someone else posted above, it's because the wind speed was estimated by looking at the storm and guessing how fast the winds were. It's not what I'd call the most accurate or reliable methodology.

          • by sycodon ( 149926 )

            And it's not what I would call anywhere near an accurate statement. The Anemometer was invented in 1846. No one was looking at the storm.

    • From the look of it, they tend to happen every few years so not even a weather anomaly.

      Yeah, it's a complete non-story, no one should pay any attention to it at all, there's no one even there. Let's get back to watching Donald Trump on TV! Oh, and fuck Mexico!

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Friday October 23, 2015 @03:42PM (#50789771) Homepage Journal
    It sounds more like a 250 mile wide tornado than a hurricane. I hope the people there are going to take that thing seriously. We should already be lining up an international response to the devastation it's going to cause.
    • A tornado hits peak winds for a relatively short period of time. A slow moving hurricane could maintain peak winds for an hour, or for hours.

      I'm sure they're taking it more seriously than Slashdot is (predictable really) but it gets to a point where what CAN they do? Again, it's like telling people to prepare for a direct nuclear blast. Hours of 200 mph winds makes the entire world basically a sort of sandblaster, using flying shrapnel to scour away all traces of civilization. There ain't a lot you can do t

      • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

        I'm sure they're taking it more seriously than Slashdot is (predictable really) but it gets to a point where what CAN they do? Again, it's like telling people to prepare for a direct nuclear blast.

        So they were all told to get under a school desk and cover the back of their necks with their hands?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Coren22 ( 1625475 )

        There ain't a lot you can do to prepare when Mother Nature's been chugging too many hydrocarbon espressos and goes into a seizure.

        You really are a Climate Change zealot aren't you?

        This is El Nino. It is entirely expected. This is not an unusual weather pattern, nor is it the strongest storm ever. You really need to calm the rhetoric.

      • it's like telling people to prepare for a direct nuclear blast

        So... hide in a refrigerator?

        I mean, Lucas and Spielberg would never have steered me wrong on that, right?

    • Yep, basically a 100 mile (or more) wide F4 tornado. Most buildings aren't really build to take that kind of hit.

      • Yep, basically a 100 mile (or more) wide F4 tornado. All buildings aren't really build to take that kind of hit.

        FTFY.
    • I hope the people there are going to take that thing seriously.

      Sure, they are. But for all the progress they've seen since for example the last time I was there almost twenty years ago, a lot of them are still living in plywood shacks. A lot of little villages are going to literally blow away.

  • by avgjoe62 ( 558860 ) on Friday October 23, 2015 @04:43PM (#50790219)

    Let's cut all the crap about global warming/climate change and remember that there are people living where this storm is making landfall. It doesn't matter if this is the strongest storm ever or if climate change caused this, there are real people in harm's way. This is not going to be pretty, between storm surge and rainfall over mountainous terrain and the flooding that will bring. So please keep these people in mind.

    Do whatever you think best to help. whether that be prayer or cutting out a Starbuck's run to donate to the Red Cross. What are we put on this Earth for if not to help one another?

    • I agree with this statement. Let's worry about the people in harm's way.
    • The thing that really strikes me about this storm is that on Tuesday night I hadn't heard of it as a tropical storm, and 24 hours later it's a very powerful storm, far more powerful than the models predicted it was going to be, and it's headed directly toward a populated area and major tourist destination. The people there had virtually no time to prepare for it, by the time a lot of tourists heard that they needed to evacuate the airports were already closed and the buses were full. The story is both the

    • The "crap about global warming" is about the next one.

      I just went through my first typhoon, visiting inlaws in Taiwan. They're getting hit a lot more frequently now - my wife has some pics of typhoon damage from a trip she went just a month before. At one point there were 3 cat 4 typhoons in the Pacific at the same time, also a historical first.

      There's the path "it's caused randomly so we can't do anything about it" there's also the path "it's caused by ____ so lets yell at ____ so we feel better, but it

  • When you search "Pineapple Express" in Wikipedia, you realize we are only a few years away from a repeat due on the 160 year cycle of mega storms hitting the West Coast.

    Geologists studying the California valley sediments know these groups of storms over a month's time will dump around 10 feet of water on California in a month.

    NOAA has been studying the size of the warm water buildup in the Eastern Pacific that feeds these storms for decades, so we know it is coming.

    Patricia is likely only the first one.

    • we are only a few years away from a repeat due on the 160 year cycle of mega storms hitting the West Coast.

      How do you know it's a 160-year cycle? Are there records of west coast storms from the early 1700s? That would be 2 data points, a third would require records from the 1540s.

      • I imagine archeometeorologists can get it from tree rings or whatever. Still, a quick Google search didn't give me any hits regarding a '160-year cycle'.

  • Update (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    About an hour ago another NOAA plane did readings while flying through the storm:

    "the plane reported an extrapolated surface pressure of 902.6 millibars based on measurements from the aircraft. Peak flight-level winds were 166 mph during this pass."

    So, um, the storm weakened by > 20% in an hour? So now it is just a regular Cat 5 which have hit this area regularly.

  • I recall the crap gals named Katrina underwent during/after Hurricane Katrina, since my wife's name is Patricia, I sincerely hope she doesn't get any of the same, being that this is supposedly the most powerful recorded hurricane in history...

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