'Monster' Hurricane Nearing Mexico May Be 'Catastrophic'

Patricia most powerful tropical cyclone ever recorded in Western Hemisphere
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2015 7:13 AM CDT

(Newser) – Hurricane Patricia may turn out to be "the most devastating storm to ever hit Mexico," and millions of residents have been told to prep for a "worst-case scenario," reports NBC News. It's the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Western hemisphere, with maximum sustained winds of 200mph, Weather.com reports, and the NOAA is labeling it "potentially catastrophic" when it touches down. The eye of the storm, expected to still be a Category 5 hurricane when it reaches the Mexican coast, is set to make landfall Friday night in Jalisco state, which includes Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara—making it the first time in eight years North American land has been threatened by a Category 5 hurricane (that time was from Hurricane Felix). Expected in Jalisco and adjoining states are floods, mudslides, and "large, battering ocean waves" up to 39 feet crashing onshore, Weather.com reports.

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While Mexico will be bearing the brunt of the storm, Texas can also expect to be affected, CBS News reports. Already being battered by heavy rain, Texas will likely also draw in Patricia's tropical moisture, which is "only going to make a bad situation worse," a National Hurricane Center meteorologist tells the network. Residents in a 25-county swath of central and south Texas, as well as along Interstate 35 from the Austin-San Antonio region to Dallas-Fort Worth, should look out for downpours of up to 12 inches and flash floods. The only other time a Category 5 hurricane has settled onto Mexico's Pacific coast was in 1959, a storm that resulted in 1,800 deaths, the site notes. Patricia is breaking other records, too: Per Weather.com, it has the lowest minimum central pressure of any hurricane ever recorded, beating out Wilma's 882 millibars with an 880. (Read more hurricane stories.)

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