Hurricane "Patricia" rapidly dissipates over land, major disaster avoided


Damage assessments following the rapid passage of Hurricane "Patricia" continue to report significantly lower amounts of devastation across Mexican land than predicted. Hundreds of homes were devastated and 8 people were reported dead, as of October 25, 2015, however the current situation seems to be mostly under control, according to Mexican authorities.

Hurricane "Patricia" reached category 5 status on October 23, only two days after the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported the tropical storm development over the warm oceans of eastern Pacific. The system was the strongest tropical cyclone recorded by NHC in both eastern North Pacific and Atlantic.

It seems that everything about this storm was rapid and unexpected, starting from its intensification and ending with equally abrupt dissipation over Mexican land.

Patricia's extremely fast pace was most likely one of the reasons for relatively low amount of damage, according to experts.

Video credit: Associated Press

Colima, Jalisco, Michoacán and Nayarit states have suffered the hardest strike. About 3 500 hectares (8 648.7 acres) of crop land has been damaged and between 3 000 and 3 500 homes have been partially or entirely devastated across Jalisco, Colima and Nayarit, as of October 24, according to Mexican authorities.

Video credit: Reuters

According to local media, the village of Chamela suffered a complete devastation due to its close proximity to the area of landfall in Jalisco. Luckily, thanks to timely warning, residents have been evacuated in time. La Manzanilla town reported heavy flooding, while the community of Barra de Navidad suffered strong storm surge impact.

8 people were reported dead, as of October 25 and hundreds of homes have been devastated. Total economic damage from Hurricane "Patricia" is estimated to be less than $100 million US, which is way below damage caused by a lot weaker storms. However, it could have be much worse.

Video credit: @dherreral75

Some rural areas remain unassessed and a lingering fear of avalanches still exists, as it is not uncommon for continuous rainfall of this volume to trigger them. Over 1 000 shelters have remained opened.

Overall, Hurricane "Patricia" had remarkably low impact when put in perspective with its massive strength. Experts believe this is partly due to the storm's rapid life cycle which hasn't allowed the heavy rainfall to linger over the affected areas for too long. Other reasons include excellent preparedness level of the country and the fact that hurricane made landfall over relatively low-populated areas with strongest winds confined only 32 km (20 miles) from the hurricane's eye.

Featured image: Hurricane "Patricia" approaching Mexico as seen from the ISS on October 23, 2015. Photo by: Scott Kelly (NASA/ISS).


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