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Hurricane Patricia still holds the worldwide record for most intense storm

Saturday, October 23rd 2021, 6:05 am - On this day in weather history, Hurricane Patricia made landfall in Mexico.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.


On Friday, Oct. 23, 2015, Hurricane Patricia reached winds as strong as 345 km/h, making it the strongest storm on record (in terms of wind speed).

Patricia started as a disturbance near the Gulf of Tehuantepec, just south of Mexico. On Oct. 20, the system was classified as a tropical depression. The storm developed slowly but then strengthened dramatically late on Oct. 21.

The hurricane continued to strengthen through Oct. 23, turning into a goliath storm with a minimum atmospheric pressure of 872 mbar. It's the second most intense storm (in terms of pressure), and not just in the eastern Pacific Ocean -- a worldwide record.

Damage from Hurricane Patricia 2015 in Colima, Mexico "Coastal damage from Patricia in Colima." Courtesy of Presidencia de la República Mexicana/Wikipedia/CC BY 2.0

On Oct. 23, Patricia made landfall over Mexico. It weakened but remained as a Category 4 near Cuixmala, Jalisco. The hurricane hit the area with winds up to 240 km/h, making it the most intense Pacific hurricane to make landfall.

In Jalisco, around 9,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. Over 24,000 hectares of crops were impacted across the state. Patricia impacted ships, as well, knocking a 735-foot cargo off course. None of the ship's crew were harmed, but they needed to be airlifted to safety, and the ship was unsalvageable.

1280px-Los Llanitos grounded after Hurricane Patricia "The bulk carrier Los Llanitos was grounded by the hurricane." Courtesy of Wikipedia

In Colima, 200 schools, 107 health facilities, and 11,645 hectares of agriculture were impacted by the storm. Banana crops were severely affected, costing US$30.1 million in losses.

Patricia also reached the U.S., predominantly impacted Texas. The area faced flash floods, affecting 500 homes.

In total, Patricia caused 13 deaths and US$462.8 million (2015) worth of damages.

To learn more about Hurricane Patricia, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

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