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Hurricane Patricia

October 24, 2015

By Paul Homewood 




Despite apocalyptic forecasts, what has been touted as “the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Americas”, has made landfall in Mexico with relatively little damage so far.


According to the Telegraph:

Hurricane Patricia, the record-breaking category 5 hurricane, rumbled across western Mexico early on Saturday, uprooting trees and triggering some landslides but causing less damage than feared for such a massive storm, officials said.

But almost five hours after landfall, President Enrique Pena Nieto addressed the nation on television, saying that the first reports “confirm that the damages have been smaller than those corresponding to a hurricane of this magnitude.”



Fortunately, no deaths have been reported yet, although the storm remains a danger as it moves inland.



Claimed “record wind speeds”, of course, rely on satellite measurements that we have only had for a few decades. Prior to that, we had to rely on ship and airplane measurements that were at best patchy, and tended to underestimate wind speeds as pilots were reluctant to fly into the centre of the most powerful hurricanes, understandably!

Similarly, wind speeds on landfall relied on anemometors, which weren’t always where the highest speeds were, and too often were destroyed by high winds.

About the most that can be claimed, therefore, is that Hurricane Patricia is the strongest hurricane in the Eastern Pacific in the last 30 years or so.



However, any suggestion that Patricia is somehow unprecedented in recent history ignores the “Mexico” hurricane of 1959, also referred to by NOAA as “the Great Hurricane of 1959”. Ironically, this hurricane made landfall on the same stretch of coast near Manzanillo.

According to Wikipedia:


The hurricane had devastating effects on the places it hit. It killed at least 1,000 people directly, and a total of 1,800 people. At that time, it was Mexico’s worst natural disaster in recent times. Most of the destruction was in Colima and Jalisco. A preliminary estimate of property damage was $280 million (1959 USD).

The storm sank three merchant ships, and two other vessels. On one ship, the Sinaloa, 21 of 38 hands went down. On another, the El Caribe, all hands were lost. As many as 50 total boats were sunk.

A quarter of the homes in Cihuatlán, Jalisco, were totally destroyed, leaving many homeless. In Manzanillo, Colima, 40 percent of all homes were destroyed, and four ships in the harbor were sunk. Large portions of Colima and Jalisco were isolated by flooding. Hundreds of people were stranded. Minatitlán, Colima, suffered especially, as 800 people out of its population of 1000 were dead or missing, according to a message sent to President Adolfo López Mateos. In Colima, all coconut plantations were blown down and thousands of people were left out of work. That state’s economy was damaged enough that officials thought it would take years to recover.

The hurricane also dumped heavy rains along its path. This water-logged the hills near Minatitlán, and contributed to huge mudslide late on October 29 that claimed 800 victims. The slide uncovered hundreds of venomous scorpions and snakes, which killed tens more people in the aftermath. Additional hordes of scorpions were driven from their nests when the adobe walls crumbled away. The Governor of Colima, Rodolfo Chávez Carrillo and his wife issued a plea for venom inoculations afterwards In some places, the mud was 10 feet (3.0 m) deep. Water supplies were badly polluted, both by debris and dead bodies.


The US National Archives have this original Universal Newsreel of the disaster.






Mercifully, Patricia has proved to be far less damaging.

  1. Morley Sutter permalink
    October 24, 2015 2:29 pm

    It is interesting that the web site: which is supposed to show global surface wind speeds among other measurements, never showed a wind speed much more than 100 km/hr. As I asked earlier at Dr. Roy Spencer’s blog, “Were the oceanic wind speeds correct?”
    It is surprising that a Category 5 turns in to a tropical storm so quickly, particularly when the
    hurricane of 1959 did so much damage after its landfall

    • A C Osborn permalink
      October 24, 2015 4:18 pm

      At 5:40PM yesterday Nuschool showed a wind speed of 145kph at
      18.00° N, 105.51° W ✕

      135° @ 145 km/h

      29.0 °C

  2. Joe Public permalink
    October 24, 2015 2:56 pm

    Headlines created to stir/maintain interest in the forthcoming Paris CopOut®?

  3. October 24, 2015 3:37 pm

    Thank you for this info! Not many people are aware that Mexico has already faced another massive hurricane. This time, we were much better prepared.

  4. October 24, 2015 3:42 pm

    Odd how many news outlets, and our Met Office are reporting Cat 5 on landfall when local Mexican Met station at Puerto Vallarta airport report wind speeds at landfall at Puerto Vallarta at only Cat 2. Lack of damage appears to support local station data.

    • October 24, 2015 4:18 pm

      Have you got the link?

      • October 24, 2015 5:52 pm

        One of the American news channels were interviewing a member of air traffic control staff at PV airport. Although airport had been closed, they said they had been constantly monitoring airspeed and seemed rather bemused about Cat 5 wind speed reports. The guy said it was unlikely, given their location, that wind speeds would be any higher elsewhere. Map seems to confirm they should have been worst hit.

        I’ll try to track down footage.

  5. Coeur de Lion permalink
    October 24, 2015 4:03 pm

    But the warmist BBC didn’t shout ‘climate change’ that I heard. Perhaps got such a reaction when John Humphries Radio 4 was lied to by a Royal Society spokesman about Cyclone Pam

  6. A C Osborn permalink
    October 24, 2015 4:20 pm

    It was never a Cat 5 Hurricane, that was “Estimated” speeds by Satellite measurement.
    It would never have dissipated so quickly.
    It was overhyped for Paris, like everything else going on this year.

  7. October 24, 2015 4:21 pm

    The chance of the hurricane affecting heavily populated areas was low before the event.
    “In severe convective storm language, you could say that #Patricia is a 10-20 mile wide F3 tornado.”

  8. October 24, 2015 6:00 pm

    Fascinating! I was also doing research on this and was intrigued by the scorpion and snake infestation among other interesting facts.

  9. Don permalink
    October 24, 2015 7:04 pm

    According to reports that Steve Goddard has put up, Puerto Vallarta never saw winds exceeding 14 MPH.

  10. CheshireRed permalink
    October 24, 2015 7:04 pm

    Patricia really has let the side down badly. She was expected to deliver so much more. Destroy a town, perhaps flatten an orphanage, trigger mud and land slides and at the very least cause the premature demise of some cattle. But nope, almost nothing! Patricia won’t be invited to play at the warmist’s party again after this disappointing performance.

  11. john cooknell permalink
    October 24, 2015 7:08 pm

    A storm of unprecedented severity that apparently caused little damage?

  12. October 24, 2015 8:42 pm

    When I first heard about Patricia on Wednesday, it was also supposed to make a deadly hit on Texas after obliterating Mexico. Worst ever. Turned out to be a grand fizzle, thank the Lord. But these wizards got everyone scared to death: “Wherever you are you must stay” was one of the quotes.

  13. CheshireRed permalink
    October 24, 2015 9:05 pm

    Hilarious over-reaction on this article. Scroll down to comments…The third comment gets 50-odd recommends!

    “I’m getting the impression that this is possibly stronger than even a category 5. Should we start a 6-10 scale the way things are going?”

    • October 24, 2015 10:01 pm

      Yep – Paris-ites indulging in blood-lust.
      Looking at some of the land-fall video, what I saw was no worse than Cat 2. A few trees over, but not much evidence of foliage being stripped. I have been through one or two Cat 3s so I know what they look like.

    • October 25, 2015 10:29 am

      That’s the Guardian bedwetters for you.

  14. ColA permalink
    October 24, 2015 9:55 pm

    If you want to see what a real category 5 can do Google up images of Cyclone Tracey and Darwin. There is a wooden telephone pole in Darwin Museum, the cyclone wind was so strong that it the hardwood pole about 20″ in diameter is pierced through with a full sheet of roof sheeting!

  15. October 24, 2015 10:38 pm

    How come doesn’t anyone speaks about the exceptional cyclone that hit California in 1939? A serious El Nino was also active in that time, but the phenomenon was not seriously investigated, probably due to the lack of data and information. Still, for those interested in these phenomenons, here are some facts found online:

  16. October 24, 2015 11:00 pm

    Thanks, Paul. This Mexican apocalypse did not happen.
    Today, Joe Bastardi’s Saturday Summary, on has his take on Patricia’s landfall, how it fell apart as soon as the outer bands started interacting with the mountains; the storm became elongated with no open “eye”.
    But he thinks a ghost of Patricia might show up by Monday in the Gulf of Mexico, and head for Luciana’s coast.
    I think Patricia was a very immature hurricane, born yesterday to die today.

  17. October 25, 2015 1:13 am

    You have such an easy time Paul, chicken shoot.

    Disgusting that you are wasted on doing this stuff instead of something constructive for the future. I get annoyed over good things done then idiots mess up. I expect many other readers have the same experience.

  18. Hicksville Kid permalink
    October 25, 2015 6:26 pm

    Typhoon Karen, Nov 1962. Wind recording instruments on Guam were blown away at over 200 MPH. Patricia was a light breeze. 😉


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