Hurricane Patricia, a Category 5 hurricane, about to hit the Pacific coast

 Mexico's geography in the Press  Comments Off on Hurricane Patricia, a Category 5 hurricane, about to hit the Pacific coast
Oct 232015

Follow-up, 28 October 2015: In the event, Hurricane Patricia did not cause anywhere near the catastrophic damage that it might have. This was partly because it was narrower than most hurricanes of its size and happened to continue on a path that missed the major resorts of Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo, and partly because it then rapidly lost strength as it smashed into the Western Sierra Madre (Sierra Madre Occidental), though it did bring torrential rain to many areas. This post-hurricane report in the Mexico Daily News summarizes the impacts.

Post-hurricane photos and video:

Original post:

As of Friday morning (23 October), Hurricane Patricia is a Category 5 hurricane, the highest rating possible, and “now the strongest ever hurricane to hit the eastern north Pacific region”, according to World Meteorological Organization spokeswoman Clare Nullis, citing an update from the US National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Hurricane Patricia’s central pressure of 880mb is the lowest for any tropical cyclone globally for over 30 years.

The maximum sustained winds associated with Hurricane Patricia are up to 325 km/hr (200 mi/hr), “enough to get a plane in the air and keep it flying”.


Hurricane Patricia is heading towards land at 16 km/hr (10 mi/hr), and is currently predicted to make landfall somewhere close to Manzanillo in the state of Colima, later today (Friday 23 October).

Map of Pacific Coast beaches. Copyright 2010 Tony Burton. All rights reserved.

Map of Pacific Coast beaches. Copyright 2010 Tony Burton. All rights reserved.

Hurricane warnings are in effect for several towns along the Pacific coast, including the major resort of Puerto Vallarta. Puerto Vallarta has established 18 shelter locations to house evacuees.

People living in the coastal areas of the states of Nayarit, Jalisco, Colima and Michoacán are all likely to experience severe impacts from this hurricane. The hurricane could cause a significant storm surge up to 2 meters high along much of the coast, and potentially up to 6 meters high in some bays such as Barra de Navidad-Melaque, and neighboring Cuestacomate.


Officials are warning residents to prepare for torrential rain (in excess of 300 mm is expected in some areas), exceptionally-strong winds and power outages, and are readying emergency shelters. Air traffic is already being affected, with delays reported for various domestic flights.

Mexico’s national water commission, CONAGUA, reports that the government has 1,782 temporary shelters available in the states of Michoacán, Colima, and Jalisco with a combined capacity of more than 258,000 people. Around 50,000 people should have been evacuated before the hurricane hits land, according to Mexican Civil Protection agencies.

Once it makes landfall, the hurricane is expected to weaken quickly, though inland areas, such as Guadalajara and the Lake Chapala area, will receive heavy rain.

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Hurricane Ernesto (7-9 August, 2012) brought torrential rain to southern Mexico

 Mexico's geography in the Press  Comments Off on Hurricane Ernesto (7-9 August, 2012) brought torrential rain to southern Mexico
Aug 182012

Hurricane Ernesto was the fifth Atlantic Ocean storm of this hurricane season. It struck the Quintana Roo coast on the night of August 7/8, as a Category 1 hurricane packing winds of up to 165 kph (103 mph), and then weakened to a Tropical Storm as it moved across the Yucatán Peninsula, along the Gulf coast of Campeche and Veracruz (August 8). It turned inland near Coatzacoalcos (Veracruz) with winds of 96 kph (60 mph), before continuing to weaken as it headed westwards over Oaxaca, across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (August 9).

Hurricane Ernesto, 8 August 2012. Credit:

Tropical Storm Ernesto, 8 August 2012. Credit:

Ernesto brought violent winds and torrential rain to many parts of southern Mexico, impacting at least nine states: Quintana Roo, Yucatán, Campeche, Chiapas, Tabasco, Veracruz, Oaxaca, Puebla, Guerrero. Twelve deaths have been reported resulting from flooding, the collapse of trees and billboards, and lightning strikes. Federal authorities estimate that at least 19,000 homes were damaged by the storm.

In Quintana Roo, prior to the arrival of Ernesto, authorities ordered the evacuation of tourists from resorts in Mahuahal and southern Quintana Roo to the city of Chetumal. Two cruise ships due to visit the Riviera Maya delayed their arrival. The villagers of Punta Allen were taken to emergency shelters as a precaution.

On the Gulf coast, several major oil ports, including Coatzacoalcos, Cayos Arcas and Dos Bocas, were temporarily shut down.

Throughout the region affected by Ernesto, power lines, trees, utility posts and advertising billboards were downed. Many areas were flooded, especially low-lying and “irregular” settlements, those lacking formal planning and infrastructure. Dozens of landslides occurred, and road crews had to clear mud, trees and debris that had temporarily cut many highways.

The worst affected area seems to be Veracruz, which reported 9 deaths from the storm. A federal state of emergency has been declared in 58 municipalities in Veracruz, which allows authorities to access funds from the National Fund for Natural Disasters (Fonden) for the food, shelter and health needs of the population affected.

These municipalities include: Álamo Temapache, Benito Juárez, Castillo de Teayo, Cazones de Herrera, Chicontepec, Chumatlán, Coahuitlán, Coatzintla, Coxquihui, Coyutla, Espinal, Filomeno Mata, Gutiérrez Zamora, Huayacocotla, Ilamatlán, Ixhuatlán de Madero, Mecatlán, Papantla, Platón Sánchez, Poza Rica, San Rafael, Tantoyuca, Tecolutla, Tempoal, Texcatepec, Tihuatlán, Tlachichilco, Tuxpan, Zacualpan, Zontecomatlán, Zozocolco de Hidalgo.

It is likely to be some time before things get back to normal in these areas since more heavy rains are expected in the next few days.

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