Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Get HideMyAss! VPN, PC Mag's Top 10 VPNs of 2016 for 55% off for a Limited Time ×
Earth Science

Patricia, Strongest Hurricane Ever Seen In Eastern Pacific, Strikes In Mexico 144

CNN reports that Hurricane Patricia has made landfall in Mexico; Patricia is notable for having the third-lowest barometer reading ever recorded, and as "the strongest hurricane ever observed in the eastern Pacific or Atlantic oceans." Slate points out that at one point, "satellite estimates of Patricia’s intensity broke the Dvorak scale, peaking at 8.3 on the 8.0 scale. ... In fact, Patricia is now very close to the theoretical maximum strength for a tropical cyclone on planet Earth." The Weather Channel is tracking the storm's path, and predicts "catastrophic damage ... along a narrow path as the eye slices into the interior of southwest Mexico Friday night." Here's a map from the National Weather Service showing Patricia's track as well as projected path.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Patricia, Strongest Hurricane Ever Seen In Eastern Pacific, Strikes In Mexico

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Does anyone understand the Dvorak scale well enough to comment on how this hurricane supposedly broke it and yet it can be accurately put on the scale as an 8.3?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 23, 2015 @08:57PM (#50791499)

      Dvorak is derived from sustained wind speed and pressure. The wind speeds are so high, and the pressures so low on this storm that they exceed the theoretical maximum (8.0) listed for Dvorak.

      I assume they calculated it at 8.3 by extrapolating from the existing scale.

      • Dvorak is derived from sustained wind speed and pressure. The wind speeds are so high, and the pressures so low on this storm that they exceed the theoretical maximum (8.0) listed for Dvorak.

        I assume they calculated it at 8.3 by extrapolating from the existing scale.

        No - This hurricane goes the whole way to 11.

      • What's the lowest barometric pressure possible? 0

        What's the highest wind speed possible? I'm not sure, but I bet it would never exceed Mach 1.

        If you're going to invent a scale, make sure that you properly define the bounds. Dvorak is a dummy.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Dvorak is derived from sustained wind speed and pressure.

        No, it is not, and that is the problem. The scale was derived from how to analyse features in satellite imagery when pressure and wind speed were not available. The scale is correlated to wind speed and pressure, because the whole point is to have some sort of scientific, calibrated estimate of wind speed when you can't measure it directly. The scale stops at 8 not because of a theoretical maximum wind speed, but because there is a strongest category of storms for which certain features are visible. The

    • by Anonymous Coward

      What I'm curious about is the statement that this is 'near the theoretical maximum strength for a tropical cyclone on earth'. How does anyone know that the maximum strength is, and what are the underlying assumptions for making a calculation of the value of that strength?

    • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Friday October 23, 2015 @09:12PM (#50791543)

      Does anyone understand the Dvorak scale well enough to comment on how this hurricane supposedly broke it and yet it can be accurately put on the scale as an 8.3?

      And more importantly, what is it on the Qwerty scale, which is the one that most of us know?

    • by khallow ( 566160 )
      Glancing at the Wikipedia page, it appears that Dvorak scale goes crudely as a power (~1.25) of the velocity (1 minute sustained). The "theoretical maximum strength" is just bunk.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Your description sort of comes close. The scale was originally based on categories of visual features in satellite imagery, for use when direct wind measurements were not possible. They were roughly correlated with wind over time, but still is mainly a categorization scheme more than a scale. It is like the F and EF scales of tornado, which are roughly based on damage done to various structures. Both sets of scales have a max category, where a hurricane has the strong features or a tornado does the wors

      • That's what happens when people start taking Salon seriously on matters of science, like climate and weather in this case. Hell, one can't even take the IPCC, who actually claim to be a science based club (rather than a political action committee, which they really are), seriously on their reports, so go figure!
    • by theskipper ( 461997 ) on Friday October 23, 2015 @10:21PM (#50791779)

      First, some background. Dvorak is a well-known blowhard tech pundit. His blowhardness is so great that meteorologists unanimously decided to adopt the scale to measure the strength of hurricanes.

      To put this in perspective, imagine being in the same room with one Dvorak. Then imagine the same room filled with eight point three Dvoraks. That's how strong this hurricane is.

    • it's nonsense, Dvorak scale only goes to 8.0 just as SSHS only goes to cat 5 regardless of strength beyond the minimum required to get to the highest number. there are no cat 6 hurricanes and their are no Dvorak 8.x hurricanes other than x=0

    • News reports this morning put the max winds at landfall as 165.

      Sounds middle of the road to high. Not really record breaking.

  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Friday October 23, 2015 @08:43PM (#50791455)
    As often happens with Pacific storms since ocean conditions for maintaining strength are rarely favorable near coastal areas in that part of the world. Winds were down over 50mph by the time it made landfall.
    • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Friday October 23, 2015 @09:00PM (#50791509) Journal
      They've been saying that since the first news reports. Then it hit 33 degree celsius el Nino year coastal water temps and bam...Patricia was a big old five.

      My hat is off to modern day weather forecasting.

      I can view Doppler from the pocket cellie in a field far enough from town they can't hear you scream, but even now, predicting the path of a hurricane is still probabilistic.

    • by Rei ( 128717 )

      200-165=50?

      • 160 MPH was an estimate at landfall based on satellite images. Having been through many hurricanes those estimates are many times wrong, esp for storms that are rapidly weakening as they approach land. It's not well understood but a storm that is strengthening as it approaches land is much more dangerous than a storm that is weakening, irrespective of absolute wind field values.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        NHC did say that the 190 mph estimate in the last full advisory prior to landfall might be a "generous" estimate. The special advisory indicating that Patricia had made landfall estimated the winds at 165 mph at that time. However, the most recent advisory included an interesting comment:

        An unconfirmed sustained wind report of 185 mph and a gust to 211 mph was received from a NOAA/NWS Hydrometeorological Automated Data System (HADS) elevated station (295 ft) at Chamela-Cuixmala, Mexico near the time of landfall. This observation should be considered unofficial until it has been quality controlled.

    • by jklovanc ( 1603149 ) on Friday October 23, 2015 @09:03PM (#50791519)

      Winds were down over 50mph by the time it made landfall.

      Fifty miles per hour seems like a lot until you realize that means winds are still up to 150mph.

      • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )

        Fifty miles per hour seems like a lot until you realize that means winds are still up to 150mph.

        It's like driving with the top down on the autobahn.

        • by sfcat ( 872532 )

          Fifty miles per hour seems like a lot until you realize that means winds are still up to 150mph.

          It's like driving with the top down on the autobahn.

          Its more like standing in the middle of the autobahn while traffic zooms past you. Its not the 150mph wind that gets you, its the 4x4s flying at 100mph that you have to worry about.

        • It's like driving [at 150mph] with the top down on the autobahn.

          Have you ever tried it? Then shut the fuck up.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The news I heard said it was down to 190mph (down 10 mph), and the eye looked like it was still there. Yes, it will decrease quickly now, but that will just mean lots of water and storm surge.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 23, 2015 @10:13PM (#50791765)

      I'm not sure the ocean is to blame for the weakening. Patricia had a very compact inner core and a tiny eye. Strong hurricanes generally undergo eyewall replacement cycles, in which the inner eyewall contracts in and an outer eyewall takes over as the main eyewall. The NHC advisories emphasized the very compact inner core in the 11 AM EDT advisory. The 5 PM EDT advisory mentioned an outer wind maximum, which would be the outer eyewall. It sounds like Patricia was undergoing and eyewall replacement cycle as it made landfall in Mexico. Category 5 hurricanes rarely maintain their maximum intensity for very long. Eyewall replacement cycles typically result in the storm weakening while that takes place. Normally, cool waters associated with the California current (the cool northerly branch of the north Pacific gyre) do result in cool waters in the eastern Pacific, but I don't think that's the primary reason for Patricia weakening. I think an eyewall replacement cycle is primarily responsible for the weakening.

      • Take a look at the terrain and vegetation, and see what a drag it is on the wind.

      • When you look at the intensity history of hurricanes hitting that region nearly all of them follow the same pattern as Patricia - significant structural weakening as they approach the coast. This can't be explained as an eyewall replacement cycle.
    • by quax ( 19371 ) on Friday October 23, 2015 @10:17PM (#50791773)

      Anon comment nailed it, from wunderground:

      "Late-afternoon data from a NOAA hurricane hunter aircraft in Patricia indicates that the hurricane is forming concentric eyewalls, presaging an eyewall replacement cycle, where the inner eyewall collapses and is replaced by an outer eyewall that forms out of a spiral band. This process typically weakens the peak winds of the hurricane by up to 20 mph, but spreads out the highest winds of the storm over a larger area. This process typically reduces the wind damage from a storm, but makes a larger storm surge, leading to more storm surge damage."

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      Is that from an "eye" witness?

  • 190 mph winds (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Friday October 23, 2015 @08:44PM (#50791461) Journal
    It'll crush the ocean-front vacation homes of the wealthy,

    and,

    the only homes of the poor.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Most Mexicans won't be hurt. Two-thirds of them already living in the US.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In other news bleeding heart liberals cry out for the poor citizens of Pompeii while taking the opportunity to bash the wealthy's island paradise.

      God the left can be so moronic.

  • Life that could see has been in that area for millions of years.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is what I predicted when I did my Ph.D in Climatology: a chaotic system will produce much larger storms than ever before. 30 years later it turns out I was right!

    • by Layzej ( 1976930 )
      Here's an interesting video where scientists explain why global warming intensifies storms and precipitation: https://youtu.be/2K2s2EjsXJI [youtu.be]
    • Re:Get used to it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jklovanc ( 1603149 ) on Friday October 23, 2015 @09:39PM (#50791651)

      a chaotic system will produce much larger storms than ever before.

      I love it when people use phrases like "ever before" when they actually mean "in our brief recorded history".

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I meant "ever before" I got my Ph.D. Did I mention I was a Scientist? With a Ph.D.?

        • by cyn1c77 ( 928549 )

          I meant "ever before" I got my Ph.D. Did I mention I was a Scientist? With a Ph.D.?

          Did you publish your PhD anonymously like your /. posts?

          If so, that must make tracking your citations a real bitch.

          • Au contraire, it makes it really easy to make any old statement of what you predicted, because som AC somewhere undoubtedly said that, and the exact opposite of that. You can't possibly be wrong if you choose your targets after the arrow hits.
      • by KGIII ( 973947 )

        You know the AC really isn't a Climatologist, right?

        • You know the AC really isn't a Climatologist, right?

          It doesn't matter. If you predict a system will become more chaotic, you will ALWAYS be right. Even if it becomes LESS chaotic you are still correct, because becoming LESS chaotic is only possible if something else became MORE chaotic.

    • by trout007 ( 975317 ) on Friday October 23, 2015 @09:56PM (#50791711)

      The hurricane force winds only extend about 25 miles which is way below the average of 100 miles. Katrina was around 125 miles. So while the peak winds here are fast it's a very small storm. Almost midway between a hurricane and tornado.

      • by Xyrus ( 755017 )

        How about some perspective then?

        The storm was packing 200 mph winds. That is an EF5 tornado. An EF5 tornado is capable of tearing asphalt off the ground, leaving nothing but slabs where sturdy homes used to be, tossing big rigs around like toothpicks, tearing tree out of the ground and shredding them, so on and so forth. Take a look at some before an after pics of an EF5 tornado.

        An EF5 tornado will rarely approach a diameter of 1 mile, and is usually over in a couple of minutes.

        This storm was an EF5 that wo

    • This is what I predicted when I did my Ph.D in Climatology: a chaotic system will produce much larger storms than ever before. 30 years later it turns out I was right!

      You knew this was going to happen and yet you didn't warn the people of Mexico. You should be sent to jail.

  • ..of the potential for flooding in Mexico City. Also, what kind of damage does a 50mph wind do to a shanty-town?
    • by jblues ( 1703158 ) on Friday October 23, 2015 @10:09PM (#50791753)

      ..of the potential for flooding in Mexico City. Also, what kind of damage does a 50mph wind do to a shanty-town?

      Here's the classification system [www.gov.ph] that we use in the Philippines, where there on average 20 Typhoon's (your Hurricane's eastern twisted sister) per year. It describes the predicted effect at different intensity grades on builds ranging from very light to heavy construction materials. Note that metric units are used.

    • by plopez ( 54068 )

      I think Mexico City is safe from storm surge. If it isn't neither is the SW US.

    • by gwolf ( 26339 )

      Oh, I live in Mexico City. We are over 1,000Km away. We haven't even got bad weather (mild rain yesterday night, beautiful day today).

      And about shanty towns... Of course we have some. But most of the city is much better built than what I've seen from the USA. No wonder we have that many 500 year old buildings in great shape.

  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Friday October 23, 2015 @09:37PM (#50791633)
    That's not quite so exclusive as it sounds. There are a lot of storms with the same barometer reading [wikipedia.org]

    870mm - Typhoon Tip (1979)
    875mm - Typhoon June (1975)
    875mm - Typhoon Nora (1973)
    877mm - Typhoon Ida (1958)
    880mm - Typhoon Kit (1966)
    880mm - Typhoon Rita (1978)
    880mm - Typhoon Vanessa (1984)
    880mm - Hurricane Patricia (2015)

    The 1970s were a bad decade for storms in the West Pacific.
    • by DevilM ( 191311 )

      BTW, it turns out that many of the readings from the typhoons in the 60s were estimated incorrectly. See Black, P.G., (1992): "Evolution of maximum wind estimates in typhoons" ICSU/WMO International Symposium on Tropical Cyclone Disasters, October 12-16, 1992, Beijing.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Good thing pressure and wind speed aren't the same thing.

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          But are nearly perfectly correlated, so yes, effectively the same thing. It's the winds pulling away from the center that make the pressure lower there.
  • Coincidence? I think not.

  • I was raised in Fort Walton Beach, Florida and I remember Hurricane Opal(1995) like it was yesterday. The highest wind speeds were captured just blocks from my home on Hurlburt Air Force base at 145 mph. I've seen, firsthand, the absolute destruction these wind speeds can cause. Homes built near the water that were supposed to be hurricane proof were absolutely leveled. Our 4 lane highway running through Okaloosa Island was torn away in massive chunks. The day after the storm boats of all sizes were found i
  • Jim Stone, Freelance Journalist, is reporting that this storm is a hoax. So much of a hoax, in fact, that NOAA personnel have been told they will be charged with a crime if they tell the truth.

    His site is here: http://www.jimstone.is/circumv... [jimstone.is]

  • by koan ( 80826 )

    Patricia is now very close to the theoretical maximum strength for a tropical cyclone on planet Earth

    Is that based on previous observations of Earth's weather before climate change started building?

    Some of the predictions I've seen for "worst case" storms imply they could be much larger.

    Side note: I misspelled "imply" as "implie" the spell checker gave me a possible correction of "pimplike" for "implie".

    pimplike....

Retirement means that when someone says "Have a nice day", you actually have a shot at it.

Working...