Saturday, October 24, 2015

Hurricane Patricia

In just 30 hours the storm went from a minimal Tropical Storm to a 200mph Hurricane. That alone makes her standout.  Patricia, was very powerful. But was she the most powerful Tropical Cyclone in history ..... no.

Once Patricia reached the 200 mph milestone, it was inevitable that the press, and even many on the weather side of the aisle would start the hype.
I'm hearing things like "The most dangerous hurricane in history" ... "Patricia the strongest in history"...."Never been anything like Hurricane Patricia." These statements are not true. The media is using verbal trickery, to make you think something is true, when it's not.

So while Patricia was the most powerful hurricane in the Eastern North Pacific on record (meaning that we know of) She is not the most powerful storm of her type in history.   

The only true way to know the actual strength of a hurricane is by making measurements inside the storm.  This is done with either  weather buoys or by reconnaissance plane. If neither of these are available, you have to use  satellite imagery to estimate the wind speeds and the pressure, which is less accurate.

The vast majority of typhoons (hurricanes) in the Western Pacific, don't get reconnaissance aircraft flying in to get pressure and wind-speed measurements. The typhoons pressure is estimated by satellite. On average West Pacific Typhoons are stronger than their East Pacific or Atlantic Basin hurricane cousins. So I have no doubt that there have been typhoons with lower pressures and higher wind-speeds than Patricia.   

It’s conceivable that other storms in this Eastern Pacific and Atlantic Basin were underestimated. For example, Hurricane Linda in 1997, had no hurricane hunter aircraft fly in. People estimated her pressure at 902 millibars, but that measurement was made with satellite estimates.  Could the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane have been underestimated, absolutely.  Could the same be said for Camille, Maybe.  

The truth is “Patricia is the first hurricane in the western hemisphere a reconnaissance aircraft has measured a wind speed of 200 miles per hour and pressure down to 880.
I've also seen reports about the "Enormous size of hurricane Patricia" 

Patricia is a very dangerous hurricane, had a very low pressure center and extremely strong winds, She is one of the most rapidly intensifying tropical cyclones in history.  But the hurricane is small. Sandy largest Atlantic storm in history,  had a  diameter of around 940 miles. Katrina had a diameter of almost 400 miles. Here’s a size comparison I drew in scale.  You can see Patricia is a fairly small hurricane.  And there have be tropical cyclones much smaller than Patricia.

I just wanted to get out ahead of all the hype and misdirection, that is already starting. Major Hurricane Patricia is one for the record books. But as is the case with all tropical cyclones she is unique and her own creature.   

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment, I will answer as soon as I can.