[Dallas,TX – October 23rd]
This morning Hurricane Patricia barreled toward southwestern Mexico as a monster Category 5 storm, the strongest ever in the Western Hemisphere. Locals and tourists were either hunkering down or trying to make last-minute escapes ahead of what forecasters called a “potentially catastrophic landfall” later in the day.
Patricia formed suddenly Tuesday evening as a tropical storm, turned into a hurricane just over a day later and just kept growing in strength, catching many off guard.
By Friday it was the most powerful hurricane on record in the Western Hemisphere with maximum sustained winds near 200 mph (325 kph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.
Patricia’s power was comparable to that of Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,300 dead or missing in the Philippines two years ago, according to the U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization.