Mexico is under a state of emergency as the country braces for Hurricane Patricia, a Category 5 storm that’s officially the strongest in recorded history.
The giant storm is swirling toward Mexico’s Pacific Coast with sustained winds clocking in at a staggering 200 mph.
It’s expected to make potentially “catastrophic” landfall by Friday evening as a Category 5 storm, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). (Some scientists warn that the hurricane could grow to a Category 7 storm: “This would be the largest storm surge in the modern history of western Mexico,” hurricane scientist Hal Needham wrote.)
Mexico will bear the brunt of the storm, but people in the southern US should expect hurricane remnants to eventually head their way.
Texas already expected to see inclement weather this weekend, says Troy Kimmel Jr., a meteorologist at Texas A&M University, but Hurricane Patricia could ramp up those storms as its remnants head north.
“We were going to get this rain no matter what,” Kimmel told Tech Insider. “It’s just going to make rainfall more efficient.”
Specifically, a tropical disturbance from Hurricane Patricia may “inject more moisture and energy into this soaking scenario by this weekend,” according to The Weather Channel. The site claims more than 10 million people across most of Texas and neighbouring states should prepare for flash floods.
Seeing is believing, though — so below is an animation of the rainfall projections along southern states from Oct. 23 to Oct. 27, sourced from meteorology graduate student Levi Cowan’s website Tropical Tidbits.
This projection isn’t an official NOAA forecast, but it pulls data from US, Canadian, European, Japanese, and other models. The colour bar is displayed in inches, and it ranges from light rain (green) to torrential downpours producing up to 2 feet of precipitation (orange).
You can see that the rainfall totals will get higher as the weekend progresses:
Kimmel said that heavy rain is likely across Texas from Friday through Saturday, and will move into Louisiana by Sunday. Forecasting models predict that Texas could receive up to 9 to 10 inches of rain, Kimmel said.
Other than profuse lightning across the state, according to Kimmel, the state isn’t expecting damaging winds or other more severe weather than rainfall.
Whether or not the storm directly affects the US, however, Hurricane Patricia is already one for the record books.
“On Twitter, professional weather watchers [are] marveling at the storm’s record-breaking ability and fearing for Mexico’s coastal cities,” meteorologist Eric Holthaus wrote for Slate. “Such a scenario — a quickly strengthening storm of unprecedented strength headed straight for land — is the stuff of meteorologists’ nightmares.”
NOW WATCH: The strongest hurricane on record, with 200 mph winds, could be ‘unimaginably catastrophic’ for Mexico
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