Hurricane Patricia

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Hurricane Patricia
Category 5 major hurricane (SSHWS/NWS)
Patricia 2015-10-23 1730Z (Worldview).jpg
Hurricane Patricia shortly after its record peak intensity on October 23, while approaching Western Mexico
FormedOctober 20, 2015 (October 20, 2015)
DissipatedOctober 24, 2015 (October 24, 2015)
Highest winds 1-minute sustained:215 mph (345 km/h)
Lowest pressure872 mbar (hPa); 25.75 inHg
(Record low in Western Hemisphere; second-lowest globally)
Fatalities8 direct, 5 indirect
Damage$462.8 million (2015 USD)
Areas affected
Part of the 2015 Pacific hurricane season

Hurricane Patricia was the second-most intense tropical cyclone on record worldwide, behind Typhoon Tip in 1979, with a minimum atmospheric pressure of 872 mbar (hPa; 25.75 inHg). [1] Originating from a sprawling disturbance near the Gulf of Tehuantepec, south of Mexico, in mid-October 2015, Patricia was first classified a tropical depression on October 20. Initial development was slow, with only modest strengthening within the first day of its classification. The system later became a tropical storm and was named Patricia, the twenty-fourth named storm of the annual hurricane season. Exceptionally favorable environmental conditions fueled explosive intensification on October 22. A well-defined eye developed within an intense central dense overcast and Patricia grew from a tropical storm to a Category 5 hurricane in just 24 hours—a near-record pace. On October 23, the hurricane achieved its record peak intensity with maximum sustained winds of 215 mph (345 km/h). [nb 1] [nb 2] This made it the most intense tropical cyclone on record in the Western Hemisphere, and the strongest globally in terms of 1-minute maximum sustained winds.

Tropical cyclone Rotating storm system with a closed, low-level circulation

A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm system characterized by a low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, strong winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that produce heavy rain. Depending on its location and strength, a tropical cyclone is referred to by different names, including hurricane, typhoon, tropical storm, cyclonic storm, tropical depression, and simply cyclone. A hurricane is a tropical cyclone that occurs in the Atlantic Ocean and northeastern Pacific Ocean, and a typhoon occurs in the northwestern Pacific Ocean; in the south Pacific or Indian Ocean, comparable storms are referred to simply as "tropical cyclones" or "severe cyclonic storms".

Typhoon Tip Pacific typhoon in 1979

Typhoon Tip, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Warling, was the largest and most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded. The forty-third tropical depression, nineteenth tropical storm, and twelfth typhoon of the 1979 Pacific typhoon season, Tip developed out of a disturbance within the monsoon trough on October 4 near Pohnpei. Initially, a tropical storm to the northwest hindered the development and motion of Tip, though after the storm tracked farther north, Tip was able to intensify. After passing Guam, Tip rapidly intensified and reached peak sustained winds of 305 km/h (190 mph) and a worldwide record-low sea-level pressure of 870 mbar on October 12. At its peak strength, Tip was the largest tropical cyclone on record, with a wind diameter of 2,220 km (1,380 mi). Tip slowly weakened as it continued west-northwestward and later turned to the northeast, in response to an approaching trough. The typhoon made landfall in southern Japan on October 19, and became an extratropical cyclone shortly thereafter. Typhoon Tip's extratropical remnants continued moving east-northeastward, until they dissipated near the Aleutian Islands on October 24.

Atmospheric pressure, sometimes also called barometric pressure, is the pressure within the atmosphere of Earth. The standard atmosphere is a unit of pressure defined as 1013.25 mbar (101325 Pa), equivalent to 760 mm Hg (torr), 29.9212 inches Hg, or 14.696 psi. The atm unit is roughly equivalent to the mean sea-level atmospheric pressure on Earth, that is, the Earth's atmospheric pressure at sea level is approximately 1 atm.


Late on October 23, dramatic weakening ensued and Patricia made landfall near Cuixmala, Jalisco, with winds of 150 mph (240 km/h). This made it the strongest landfalling hurricane on record along the Pacific coast of Mexico. Patricia continued to weaken extremely quickly, faster than it had intensified, as it interacted with the mountainous terrain of Mexico. Within 24 hours of moving ashore, Patricia weakened into a tropical depression and dissipated soon thereafter, late on October 24.

Landfall event of a storm moving over land after being over water

Landfall is the event of a storm or waterspout moving over land after being over water.

Cuixmala is located on the Pacific Ocean, on Mexico's Costalegre, also known as the Virgin Coast, set in 30,000 acres of UNESCO Biosphere reserve.

Jalisco State of Mexico

Jalisco, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Jalisco, is one of the 31 states which, with Mexico City, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is located in Western Mexico and is bordered by six states which are Nayarit, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Michoacán and Colima. Jalisco is divided into 125 municipalities, and its capital city is Guadalajara. Jalisco is one of the most important states in Mexico because of its natural resources as well as its history. Many of the characteristic traits of Mexican culture, particularly outside Mexico City, are originally from Jalisco, such as mariachi, ranchera music, birria, tequila, jaripeo, etc., hence the state's motto: "Jalisco es México." Economically, it is ranked third in the country, with industries centered in the Guadalajara metropolitan area, the second largest metropolitan area in Mexico. The state is home to two significant indigenous populations, the Huichols and the Nahuas. There is also a significant foreign population, mostly retirees from the United States and Canada, living in the Lake Chapala and Puerto Vallarta areas.

The precursor to Patricia produced widespread flooding rains in Central America. Hundreds of thousands of people were directly affected by the storm, mostly in Guatemala. At least six fatalities were attributed to the event: four in El Salvador, one in Guatemala, and one in Nicaragua. Torrential rains extended into southeastern Mexico, with areas of Quintana Roo and Veracruz reporting accumulations in excess of 19.7 in (500 mm). Damage in Chetumal reached MX$1.4 billion (US$85.3 million). [nb 3]

Central America central geographic region of the Americas

Central America is a region found in the southern tip of North America and is sometimes defined as a subcontinent of the Americas. This region is bordered by Mexico to the north, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south. Central America consists of seven countries: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. The combined population of Central America is estimated to be between 41,739,000 and 42,688,190.

Guatemala Republic in Central America

Guatemala, officially the Republic of Guatemala, is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, Belize and the Caribbean to the northeast, Honduras to the east, El Salvador to the southeast and the Pacific Ocean to the south. With an estimated population of around 16.6 million, it is the most populated country in Central America. Guatemala is a representative democracy; its capital and largest city is Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción, also known as Guatemala City.

El Salvador country in Central America

El Salvador, officially the Republic of El Salvador, is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. It is bordered on the northeast by Honduras, on the northwest by Guatemala, and on the south by the Pacific Ocean. El Salvador's capital and largest city is San Salvador. As of 2016, the country had a population of approximately 6.34 million.

As a tropical cyclone, Patricia's effects in Mexico were tremendous; however, the affected areas were predominantly rural, mitigating a potential large-scale disaster. Violent winds tore roofs from structures and stripped coastal areas of their vegetation. Preliminary assessments indicated hundreds of homes to be destroyed; seven fatalities were linked to the hurricane directly or indirectly, including one during evacuations. Total damage from Patricia was estimated to be at least $462.8 million (2015 USD); the damage in Mexico alone was estimated to be in excess of MX$5.4 billion (US$325 million), with agriculture and infrastructure comprising the majority of losses. Flooding partially associated with remnant moisture from Patricia inflicted US$52.5 million in damage across Southern Texas.

United States dollar Currency of the United States of America

The United States dollar is the official currency of the United States and its territories per the United States Constitution since 1792. In practice, the dollar is divided into 100 smaller cent (¢) units, but is occasionally divided into 1000 mills (₥) for accounting. The circulating paper money consists of Federal Reserve Notes that are denominated in United States dollars.

South Texas region of the U.S. state of Texas

South Texas is a region of the U.S. state of Texas that lies roughly south of—and sometimes including—San Antonio. The southern and western boundary is the Rio Grande, and to the east it is the Gulf of Mexico. The population of this region is about 4.96 million according to the 2017 census estimates. The southern portion of this region is often referred to as the Rio Grande Valley. The eastern portion along the Gulf of Mexico is also referred to as the Coastal Bend.

Meteorological history

Map plotting the track and the intensity of the storm, according to the Saffir-Simpson scale Patricia 2015 track.png
Map plotting the track and the intensity of the storm, according to the Saffir–Simpson scale

On October 11, 2015, an area of disturbed weather traversed Central America and emerged over the eastern Pacific Ocean. The disturbance moved slowly over the next few days, later merging with a tropical wave on October 15. The merger of these systems and the effects of a concurrent Tehuantepec gap wind event spurred the formation of a broad area of low pressure. This feature gradually consolidated and became a tropical depression shortly after 00:00  UTC on October 20; at this time the depression was situated roughly 205 mi (335 km) south-southeast of Salina Cruz, Mexico. A mid-level ridge to the north steered the depression generally west and later pulled it north along an arcing path. [1]

Tropical wave type of atmospheric trough

Tropical waves, easterly waves, or tropical easterly waves, also known as African easterly waves in the Atlantic region, are a type of atmospheric trough, an elongated area of relatively low air pressure, oriented north to south, which moves from east to west across the tropics, causing areas of cloudiness and thunderstorms. West-moving waves can also form from the tail end of frontal zones in the subtropics and tropics, and may be referred to as easterly waves, but these waves are not properly called tropical waves; they are a form of inverted trough sharing many characteristics with fully tropical waves. All tropical waves form in the easterly flow along the equatorward side of the subtropical ridge or belt of high pressure which lies north and south of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). Tropical waves are generally carried westward by the prevailing easterly winds along the tropics and subtropics near the equator. They can lead to the formation of tropical cyclones in the north Atlantic and northeastern Pacific basins. A tropical wave study is aided by Hovmöller diagrams, a graph of meteorological data.


Tehuantepecer, or Tehuano wind, is a violent mountain-gap wind traveling through Chivela Pass, most common between October and February, with a summer minimum in July. It originates from eastern Mexico and the Bay of Campeche as a post-frontal northerly wind, accelerated southward by cold air damming, which crosses the isthmus and blows through the gap between the Mexican and Guatemalan mountains. The term dates back to at least 1929. This wind can reach gale, storm, and hurricane force. The leading edge of its outflow may form rope cloud over the Gulf of Tehuantepec. These winds can be observed on satellite pictures such as scatterometer wind measurements, they influence waves which then propagate as swell and are sometimes observed 1,600 km (1,000 mi) away. These strong winds bring cooler sub-surface waters to the surface of the tropical eastern Pacific ocean and may last from a few hours to 6 days.

A low-pressure area, low, depression or cyclone is a region on the topographic map where the atmospheric pressure is lower than that of surrounding locations. Low-pressure systems form under areas of wind divergence that occur in the upper levels of the troposphere. The formation process of a low-pressure area is known as cyclogenesis. Within the field of meteorology, atmospheric divergence aloft occurs in two areas. The first area is on the east side of upper troughs, which form half of a Rossby wave within the Westerlies. A second area of wind divergence aloft occurs ahead of embedded shortwave troughs, which are of smaller wavelength. Diverging winds aloft ahead of these troughs cause atmospheric lift within the troposphere below, which lowers surface pressures as upward motion partially counteracts the force of gravity.

Development was initially slowed by locally cooler sea surface temperatures and dry air, and the depression became Tropical Storm Patricia later that day. [1] Once clear of the unfavorable region, Patricia traversed anomalously warm waters within an environment exceptionally conducive to rapid intensification. [1] [2] Dramatic strengthening began late on October 21 and continued through October 23. Patricia reached hurricane strength shortly after 00:00 UTC on October 22, [1] featuring prominent outflow, well-defined banding features, [3] and a developing eye. [4] Data from Hurricane Hunters investigating the cyclone indicated Patricia to have reached Category 4 status on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale by 18:00 UTC. [1] [5]

Sea surface temperature Water temperature close to the oceans surface

Sea surface temperature (SST) is the water temperature close to the ocean's surface. The exact meaning of surface varies according to the measurement method used, but it is between 1 millimetre (0.04 in) and 20 metres (70 ft) below the sea surface. Air masses in the Earth's atmosphere are highly modified by sea surface temperatures within a short distance of the shore. Localized areas of heavy snow can form in bands downwind of warm water bodies within an otherwise cold air mass. Warm sea surface temperatures are known to be a cause of tropical cyclogenesis over the Earth's oceans. Tropical cyclones can also cause a cool wake, due to turbulent mixing of the upper 30 metres (100 ft) of the ocean. SST changes diurnally, like the air above it, but to a lesser degree. There is less SST variation on breezy days than on calm days. In addition, ocean currents such as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), can effect SST's on multi-decadal time scales, a major impact results from the global thermohaline circulation, which affects average SST significantly throughout most of the world's oceans.

Rapid intensification

Rapid intensification is a meteorological condition that occurs when a tropical cyclone intensifies dramatically in a short period of time. The United States National Hurricane Center (NHC) defines rapid intensification as an increase in the maximum 1-min sustained winds of a tropical cyclone of at least 30 knots in a 24-hour period.

Outflow (meteorology) air that flows outwards from a storm system

Outflow, in meteorology, is air that flows outwards from a storm system. It is associated with ridging, or anticyclonic flow. In the low levels of the troposphere, outflow radiates from thunderstorms in the form of a wedge of rain-cooled air, which is visible as a thin rope-like cloud on weather satellite imagery or a fine line on weather radar imagery. Low-level outflow boundaries can disrupt the center of small tropical cyclones. However, outflow aloft is essential for the strengthening of a tropical cyclone. If this outflow is undercut, the tropical cyclone weakens. If two tropical cyclones are in proximity, the upper level outflow from the system to the west can limit the development of the system to the east.

Satellite animation of Patricia weakening considerably before making landfall on October 23 Hurricane Patricia October 23, 2015, GOES-15 visible animation.gif
Satellite animation of Patricia weakening considerably before making landfall on October 23

By the early hours of October 23, a clear northward turn took place followed by acceleration northeast. [6] A solid ring of −130 °F (−90 °C) cloud tops surrounded the hurricane's 12 mi (19 km) wide eye and signaled its intensification into a Category 5 hurricane. In a 24-hour time span, Patricia's maximum sustained winds increased by 120 mph (195 km/h), the fastest such intensification in any hurricane observed by the National Hurricane Center (NHC). The hurricane achieved its peak around 12:00 UTC on October 23, with estimated winds around 215 mph (345 km/h) and a barometric pressure of 872 mbar (hPa; 25.75 inHg); these values are based upon continued intensification after a Hurricane Hunter mission into the storm six hours prior. In the NHC's report on Patricia, it is noted that the hurricane may have surpassed Typhoon Tip as the strongest tropical cyclone ever observed, but lack of direct observations at the time of its peak prevent analysis of such. [1]

Later on October 23, rapid weakening ensued as an eyewall replacement cycle took shape and wind shear increased. In the five hours up until landfall in Mexico, Patricia weakened at an unprecedented rate while still over water. However, it remained a violent hurricane and moved ashore around 23:00 UTC near Cuixmala, Jalisco, a strong Category 4 hurricane, with sustained winds of 150 mph (240 km/h) and an analyzed pressure of 932 mbar (hPa; 27.49 inHg). This made Patricia the most intense Pacific hurricane on record to strike Mexico. Once onshore, the high terrain of the Sierra Madre mountains accelerated Patricia's weakening. The low- and mid-level circulations of the tropical cyclone decoupled, with the latter accelerating northeast, and Patricia dissipated on October 24 over central Mexico, less than 18 hours after moving ashore. [1]


Hurricane Patricia set multiple records for maximum strength, rate of intensification, and rate of weakening throughout its relatively short existence. With maximum sustained winds of 215 mph (345 km/h) and a minimum pressure of 872 mbar (hPa; 25.75 inHg), Patricia is the most intense tropical cyclone ever observed in the Western Hemisphere. In terms of central pressure, it is also the second-most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded worldwide, just shy of Typhoon Tip in 1979 which had a minimum pressure of 870 mbar (hPa; 25.69 inHg). [1] Patricia's one-minute maximum sustained winds ranked as the highest ever reliably observed or estimated in a tropical cyclone, surpassing Typhoon Haiyan of 2013. [7] The magnitude of Patricia's rapid intensification is among the fastest ever observed. In a 24-hour period, 06:00–06:00 UTC October 22–23, its maximum sustained winds increased from 85 mph (140 km/h) to 205 mph (335 km/h), a record increase of 120 mph (195 km/h). During the same period, Patricia's central pressure fell by 95 mbar (hPa; 2.81 inHg). Despite record over-water weakening prior to striking Mexico, Patricia became the most intense Pacific hurricane to make landfall, with a pressure of 932 mbar (hPa; 27.52 inHg). [1]


President Enrique Pena Nieto meets with cabinet members to discuss Hurricane Patricia on October 23 President Enrique Pena Nieto meets with cabinet members for Hurricane Patricia.jpg
President Enrique Peña Nieto meets with cabinet members to discuss Hurricane Patricia on October 23

Before Hurricane Patricia arrived, the Government of Mexico issued multiple watches and warnings for coastal communities. A hurricane watch was first raised at 09:00 UTC on October 21, encompassing areas of Michoacán, Colima, and Jalisco. A tropical storm watch also covered portions of Guerrero. As Patricia intensified, the government issued a hurricane warning for areas between Cabo Corrientes, Jalisco, and Punta San Telmo, Michoacán; a tropical storm warning supplemented this for areas farther north and east. The hurricane warning was extended northward to include areas south of San Blas, Nayarit, on October 23. Once the storm moved inland and the threat of damaging winds diminished, these warnings were gradually discontinued on October 24. [1]

Evacuation from hotel Riu Vallarta on morning before Hurricane Patricia made landfall Hurricane Patricia (2015) Laslovarga1.JPG
Evacuation from hotel Riu Vallarta on morning before Hurricane Patricia made landfall

Following Patricia's upgrade to Category 5 status, the National Hurricane Center called the storm "potentially catastrophic", [8] a source of criticism and praise from various media. [9] Citing the relatively limited damage and loss of life, some outlets, including the Associated Press, [10] claimed the agency was exaggerating the danger posed by the storm. However, most outlets praised them for effectively communicating the dire threat and potentially saving lives from an exceptionally powerful hurricane. [9] [11]

Across Michoacán, Colima, Jalisco, and Nayarit, 1,782 shelters were opened on October 22 with a collective capacity of 258,000 people. [12] Officials in Manzanillo began distributing sandbags during the afternoon of October 22. [13] Schools across Guerrero and Jalisco suspended activities for October 22 and 23, respectively. [14] [15] Civil protection officials planned to evacuate roughly 50,000 people from Colima, Jalisco, and Nayarit. [16] To expedite the process, 2 aircraft and 600 buses were used to shuttle evacuees. [17] Ultimately, 8,500 people evacuated prior to the storm's arrival, including 2,600 in Cabo Corrientes. [17] [18] One person died during an evacuation in Jalisco. [19] Roughly 25,000 personnel from the Mexican Army, Navy, and Federal Police were deployed preemptively. [20] More than 500  Red Cross volunteers were on standby. [21] The Mexican Red Cross prepositioned food for 3,500 families. [22] Approximately 30 kg (66 lb) of aid was prepositioned in Colima for distribution after the hurricane's passage. The Electric Federal Commission dispatched 2,500 crewmen, 152 cranes, 15 all-terrain vehicles, 4 helicopters, and 84 generators to cope with potential power outages. [21] Mexican authorities received praise for effectively carrying out emergency preparations. [23]

Impact from precursor disturbance

The sprawling precursor to Hurricane Patricia over Central America on October 17 Pre-Patricia 2015-10-17 1930Z.jpg
The sprawling precursor to Hurricane Patricia over Central America on October 17

The precursor of Patricia was a large and sprawling system that affected much of Central America with heavy rain for several days. [1] [24] Rainfall was enhanced by the presence of multiple systems, including a tropical wave and a second disturbance over the Caribbean Sea. [1] One person was killed in the Alta Verapaz Department and approximately 2,100 people required evacuation across Guatemala. [24] [25] A total of 442 homes and 28,200 ha (70,000 acres) of crops were damaged while roughly 223,000 people were affected by flooding. [26] [27] Government officials deployed emergency teams and Q40 million (US$5.22 million) was available for relief operations. [26] In nearby El Salvador between 6.3 and 7.3 in (160 and 185 mm) of rain fell, causing similar floods. [28] Dozens of homes were affected and four people were killed. [28] [29] The Goascorán River overflowed its banks twice in two days, inundating surrounding communities. [28] Owing to widespread flooding, authorities suspended school activities across the country on October 19. [29] In Nicaragua, a landslide buried four miners in Bonanza; one died while the others were rescued. [30] The Ulúa River in Honduras over-topped its banks for the first time in 17 years on October 18, prompting the evacuation of more than 200 people. [31] [32] Furthermore, flooding damaged 10 homes in Jacó, Costa Rica. [33]

The aforementioned rains extended into Southwestern and Northeastern Mexico, falling from October 18–20; precipitation was enhanced by another tropical disturbance over the northwestern Caribbean Sea. Portions of Quintana Roo saw their most intense rainfall event on record, with 19.8 in (502 mm) observed in Chetumal. This surpassed the previous record of 18 in (450 mm) during Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Flooding affected approximately 1,500 homes in the city, with 150 people seeking refuge in public shelters. [34] Damage in Chetumal was pegged at MX$1.4 billion (US$85.3 million). [35] Seven municipalities were declared disaster areas accordingly. [36] In nearby Veracruz, more than 24 in (600 mm) of rain caused widespread flooding; at least 50 municipalities reported damage from the event as multiple rivers over-topped their banks. [37] Flooding in Tabasco affected 7,500 ha (19,000 acres) of crops. [38] In Oaxaca, several roads were washed out by the accompanying floods and mudslides, particularly in the Sierra Norte region. [39] Widespread flooding affected large areas of Chiapas and Guerrero, prompting dozens of evacuations. [40] In Tapachula, Chiapas, 6.6 in (168 mm) of rain fell in just 90 minutes, triggering flash floods that caught residents by surprise. Hundreds of families were affected and 64 homes were damaged or destroyed. [41]

Impact as a tropical cyclone

Hurricane Patricia hours before making landfall in Jalisco Patricia 2015-10-23 2035Z EVL.png
Hurricane Patricia hours before making landfall in Jalisco


Hurricane Patricia made landfall in Jalisco as a Category 4 hurricane during the evening of October 23. The 15 mi (24 km) wide core of Patricia largely avoided populated centers, passing through areas with a population density less than 30 people per square mile. This, alongside effective evacuations, is credited for the relatively low death toll, despite the hurricane's intensity. Several small communities along the path sustained tremendous damage, however. [42] Had the hurricane moved farther east or west, the densely populated areas surrounding Manzanillo or Puerto Vallarta would have suffered a direct hit. [23]

Throughout the affected region, the storm's powerful winds left 261,989 people without electricity. [18] [20] Twenty-one of the nation's thirty-one states, and the Federal District, were affected by the hurricane's rain. [43] Accumulations in Jalisco peaked at 15.09 in (383.2 mm) on Nevado de Colima. [44] Roughly 42,000 ha (100,000 acres) of crops were affected across Colima, Jalisco, Michoacán, and Nayarit, with 15,000 ha (37,000 acres) deemed a total loss and 27,000 ha (67,000 acres) partially damaged. [45] Six deaths occurred due to direct or indirect effects of the hurricane, all in Jalisco. [46] [47] Damage assessments indicate total losses around MX$5.4 billion (US$325 million), primarily from agriculture and infrastructure. [18] [48] [49] [50] [51]


The bulk carrier Los Llanitos was grounded by the hurricane Los Llanitos grounded after Hurricane Patricia.jpg
The bulk carrier Los Llanitos was grounded by the hurricane

Striking Jalisco as a strong Category 4 hurricane, Patricia wrought tremendous damage, though the most extreme effects were relatively localized. In the small community of Emiliano Zapata, the hurricane's violent winds tore roofs off homes and business. Countless trees were defoliated, stripped of their branches, snapped, or uprooted. Hillsides along the immediate landfall area were largely stripped of vegetation. Storm chaser Josh Morgerman described the aftermath: "... the tropical landscape was transformed into something barren and wintry." [52] Furthermore, the winds toppled concrete power poles and crumpled transmission towers. [52] A total of six deaths in incidents related to Patricia were reported in the state. [46] Two of these deaths occurred when a tree toppled over in the storm's powerful winds. [47] A woman was also hospitalized after sustaining injuries in the same incident. Another four people were killed in an automobile accident in southern Jalisco. Two of the victims died in the wreckage and the other two died after being brought to a hospital. [46] [53]

Throughout Jalisco, approximately 9,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. [54] The coastal hamlet of Chamela, home to 40 families, was completely flattened. [55] More than 24,000 ha (59,000 acres) of crops were affected across the state: 10,684 ha (26,400 acres) sustained total losses while 13,943 ha (34,450 acres) were partially so. Damage from agriculture amounted to roughly MX$168 million (US$10.1 million). [56] Total damage reached to MX$1.139 billion (US$68.6 million). [48] A cargo ship—the 735 ft (224 m) bulk carrier Los Llanitos [57] —was shifted off-course by the hurricane and grounded near Barra de Navidad, Jalisco. Her 27 crew were unharmed but required rescue by a military helicopter. [58] The ship was subsequently deemed a total loss and crews began scrapping the vessel on-site in February 2016. [59]

Colima and Michoacán

Coastal damage from Patricia in Colima Damage from Hurricane Patricia 2015 in Colima, Mexico.jpg
Coastal damage from Patricia in Colima

In nearby Colima, preliminary surveys indicated localized but severe damage. A total of 200 schools, 107 health facilities, 34 sport facilities, and 11,645 ha (28,780 acres) of agriculture was affected by the storm. [60] Severe damage was incurred by the banana crops, with losses from the fruit alone estimated at MX$500 million (US$30.1 million). [18] Total damage in the state reached MX$1.7 billion (US$102.5 million). [49]

Although Patricia made landfall farther west, damage across Michoacán was severe. Numerous communities were temporarily isolated as roads were either rendered impassible or washed away altogether by floods. [61] A total of 1,512 homes were damaged and another 127 were destroyed across the state, [62] including 600 in Coahuayana. [63] The storm severely damaged 150 homes in the Arteaga Municipality. A portion of Highway 200 was shut down in Aquila. [61] Agriculture sustained extensive damage with 10,000 ha (25,000 acres) of crops destroyed; losses in the sector amounted to MX$2.5 billion (US$150.7 million). In Coahuayana alone, 5,600 ha (14,000 acres) of bananas were ruined, the greatest loss of crops in the municipality's history; [50] thousands of residents lost their jobs as a result of the damage. [63] Losses to health facilities in the state reached MX$13.5 million (US$814,000). [51]

Other states

The hurricane produced large swells along the shores of Guerrero on October 22, causing damage to coastal structures. [64] The remnants of Patricia brought heavy rain to much of northern Mexico on October 24. Up to 7.6 in (193 mm) of rain was observed in Tamaulipas, resulting in flooding. Dozens of structures sustained damage and hundreds were left without power, with areas in Reynosa and Río Bravo particularly affected. [65]

United States

Patricia's direct effects in Texas were limited to southern areas of the state. Moisture associated with the hurricane streamed ahead of its circulation and interacted with a frontal boundary over the region. [66] Antecedent rains saturated the region and produced severe flooding, with cars flooded and a train derailed. [67] Fears arose that the collective effects of these storms would produce deadly floods, similar to those in May earlier in the year; however, no deaths resulted. [68] Houston received 9.38 in (238 mm) of rain during a 24-hour span from October 24–25, [69] and a brief tornado caused minor damage near the city. [70] Rain fell at rates of 1 to 2 in (25 to 51 mm) per hour in southern Hidalgo County, leading to damaging flash floods. An estimated 10 to 12 in (250 to 300 mm), or more, accumulated across the ProgresoWeslaco area. Several feet of water rendered roads impassible, stranded cars, and affected more than 500 homes. Twenty-six water rescues were conducted in the area. Damage was estimated at $50 million. [71] Several roads in and around Corpus Christi were inundated, [72] including part of Interstate 37. [73] Two hours of "blinding rains" flooded the majority of eastern Willacy County, prompting multiple water rescues, and leaving $2.5 million in damage. [74] Remnant moisture then moved north and northwest through the Great Lakes, Appalachia and Mid-Atlantic states, and Florida Pandhandle before exiting the nation. [75] [76] [77] [78]


In the aftermath of the hurricane, 5,791 Marines from Mexico's Naval Infantry Force were deployed to assist with recovery and rescue efforts. [79] Rescuers reached some of the hardest-hit areas within a day of Patricia's landfall. [23] Red Cross volunteers began needs assessments on October 24 and distribution of humanitarian aid started the following day. [22] Power was restored to 88 percent of those affected within two days of the storm. [20] Through the nation's livestock catastrophe fund, MX$150 million (US$9.04 million) were allocated for agricultural areas affected by the storm on October 29. Of this total, MX$76 million (US$4.58 million) were delegated to Jalisco. [80]

The Secretariat of Social Development's budget allowed for MX$250 million (US$15.1 million) in relief funds for Jalisco. [47] Of this, MX$34 million (US$2.05 million) were allocated for affected persons. [81] On October 27, Rafael Pacchiano Alamán announced an initial fund of MX$5.3 million (US$319,000) through the Temporary Employment Program (Programa de Empleo Temporal) to help spur economic recovery in Colima. [82] On October 28, 15 of Jalisco's 125 municipalities were declared disaster areas; assessments were ongoing in 5–10 other municipalities to potentially be added to this declaration. [83] Of the more than 24,000 ha (59,000 acres) of crops affected by Patricia in Jalisco, only 6,600 ha (16,000 acres) were covered by insurance. [56] Through late January 2016, Instituto Nacional del Emprendedor provided entrepreneurs with MX$3.577 million (US$216,000) in funds. [84]

In January 2016, the Michoacán Ministry of Social Development enacted a MX$10 million (US$603,000) rehabilitation program to build 605 homes in affected communities. [85]


Due to the hurricane's extreme intensity, the name Patricia was retired by the World Meteorological Organization on April 25, 2016. It will be replaced with Pamela for the 2021 Pacific hurricane season. [86]

See also

Other Category 5 Pacific hurricanes that made landfall in Mexico:

Other record-strength tropical cyclones:


  1. All winds are one-minute sustained unless otherwise noted.
  2. The figures for maximum sustained winds and position estimates are rounded to the nearest 5 units (knots, miles, or kilometers), following the convention used in the National Hurricane Center's products. Direct wind observations are rounded to the nearest whole number. Atmospheric pressures are listed to the nearest millibar and nearest hundredth of an inch of mercury.
  3. All monetary totals are in 2015 values of their respective currency unless otherwise noted.

Related Research Articles

Hurricane Lane (2006) Category 3 Pacific hurricane in 2006

Hurricane Lane was the thirteenth named storm, ninth hurricane, and sixth major hurricane of the 2006 Pacific hurricane season. The strongest Pacific hurricane to make landfall in Mexico since Hurricane Kenna of 2002, Lane developed on September 13 from a tropical wave to the south of Mexico. It moved northwestward, parallel to the coast of Mexico, and steadily intensified in an area conducive to further strengthening. After turning to the northeast, Lane attained peak winds of 125 mph (205 km/h), and made landfall in the state of Sinaloa at peak strength. It rapidly weakened and dissipated on September 17, and later brought precipitation to southern part of the U.S. state of Texas.

Tropical Storm Dalila (2007) Pacific tropical storm in 2007

Tropical Storm Dalila caused flooding in western Mexico in late July 2007. The seventh tropical cyclone and the fourth named storm of the 2007 Pacific hurricane season, Dalila developed from a tropical wave located well southwest of Mexico on July 22. Initially, northeasterly shear caused the depression to remain disorganized, though by early on July 24, it was upgraded to Tropical Storm Dalila. During the next twenty-four hours, Dalila strengthened slightly further while tracking steadily northwestward, attaining peak winds of 60 mph (95 km/h) early on the following day. Shortly thereafter, Dalila either crossed or moved very close to Socorro Island on July 25. Due to decreasing sea surface temperatures, the storm slowly began to weaken, after curving west-northwestward. Early on July 27, Dalila was downgraded to a tropical depression, several hours before degenerating into a remnant low pressure area.

Tropical Storm Julio (2002)

Tropical Storm Julio in 2002 was a weak and short-lived tropical storm that made landfall along the southern Mexican coast. An area of convection organized into a tropical depression on September 25. Initially forecast to stay offshore, the depression headed northward and strengthened into a tropical storm that same day. Julio turned to the northwest and peaked as a minimal tropical storm just before landfall near Lázaro Cárdenas, on September 26. The storm soon weakened into a tropical depression and later on September 26, it rapidly dissipated over Mexico.

Tropical Storm Marco (2008) Atlantic tropical storm in 2008

Tropical Storm Marco was the smallest tropical cyclone on record. The thirteenth named storm of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season, Marco developed out of a broad area of low pressure over the northwestern Caribbean during late September 2008. Influenced by a tropical wave on October 4, a small low-level circulation center developed over Belize. After crossing the southern end of the Yucatán Peninsula and emerging into the Bay of Campeche, the low was declared Tropical Depression Thirteen early on October 6. The depression quickly intensified into a tropical storm and was given the name Marco later that day. Marco reached its peak intensity with winds of 65 mph (100 km/h) early on October 7. Around this time, tropical storm force winds extended 11.5 miles (18.5 km) from the center of the storm, making Marco the smallest tropical cyclone on record. Around 1200 UTC, Marco made landfall near Misantla, Veracruz. The storm rapidly weakened after landfall, dissipating later that day. Due to its small size, Marco caused minimal damage; however, the storm's heavy rains led to floods up to 10 feet (3.05 m) deep that covered highways and damaged homes.

Hurricane Andres (2009) Category 1 Pacific hurricane in 2009

Hurricane Andres was the first named storm and hurricane of the 2009 Pacific hurricane season. Forming on June 21, Andres gradually intensified as it tracked along the Mexican coastline. Deep convection developed around the center of circulation and by June 23, the storm attained hurricane-status, peaking with winds of 80 mph (130 km/h). Upon attaining this intensity, the storm featured a developing eyewall within a central dense overcast. Within 36 hours, the storm rapidly degenerated, having most of the convection being displaced by high wind shear, becoming a non-tropical trough during the afternoon of June 24.

2013 Pacific hurricane season hurricane season in the Pacific Ocean

The 2013 Pacific hurricane season was the costliest Pacific hurricane season on record, with a total of about $4.2 billion in damages. The season produced above normal activity; however, the majority of the storms were weak. The season officially began on May 15, 2013 in the Eastern Pacific and started on June 1, 2013 in the Central Pacific. Both ended on November 30, 2013. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the eastern Pacific basin. However, the formation of a storm is possible at any time.

Hurricane Beatriz (2011) Category 1 Pacific hurricane in 2011

Hurricane Beatriz was a Category 1 hurricane that killed four people after brushing the western coast of Mexico in June 2011. Originating from an area of disturbed weather on June 19, several hundred miles south of Mexico, Beatriz gradually intensified. Gaining latitude, the system became increasingly organized and reached hurricane status on the evening of June 20. The following morning, Beatriz attained winds of 90 mph (150 km/h) as it passed roughly 15 mi (20 km) of Mexico. Due to its interaction with land, the hurricane abruptly weakened hours later. Early on June 22, Beatriz dissipated over open waters. Prior to Beatriz's arrival in Mexico, hurricane watches and warnings were issued for coastal areas. Hundreds of shelters opened across the states of Colima and Guerrero. Heavy rains from the storm triggered significant flooding along the Sabana River in Acapulco, killing four people. However, the overall effects of Beatriz were limited and the rains were largely beneficial in mitigating a severe drought.

Hurricane Jova (2011) Category 3 Pacific hurricane in 2011

Hurricane Jova was a strong Pacific hurricane that made landfall over Jalisco, Mexico. The tenth tropical depression and named storm, ninth hurricane, and fifth major hurricane of the 2011 Pacific hurricane season, Jova developed from an area of showers and thunderstorms that became better organized in early October. Moving towards the west-northwest, the area became better organized, and late on October 5, the National Hurricane Center began issuing advisories on Tropical Depression Ten-E. Steadily organizing, the storm was upgraded to Tropical Storm Jova later the following day, and by October 8, the storm had been classified as a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale. The storm attained Category 2 hurricane status late on October 9, and after a round of rapid intensification early on October 10, Jova had become a major hurricane.

Tropical Storm Beatriz (1993) Pacific tropical storm in 1993

Tropical Storm Beatriz of 1993 was a strong tropical storm that made landfall in Mexico during the moderately active 1993 Pacific hurricane season. The storm caused $1.7 billion in damages throughout Mexico.

Hurricane Erick Pacific hurricane in 2013

Hurricane Erick brought minor impact to the western coastline of Mexico in July 2013. The fifth tropical cyclone and named storm, as well as the fourth hurricane of the annual hurricane season, Erick originated from a tropical wave that moved off the western coast of Africa on June 18. The wave tracked swiftly westward with little development, emerging into the eastern Pacific on July 1. As a result of favorable environmental conditions, the wave developed into a tropical depression on July 4, and further into Tropical Storm Erick at 0000 UTC on July 5. Steered generally west-northwest, Erick intensified into a Category 1 hurricane and reached its peak intensity with winds of 80 mph (130 km/h) on July 6. Its proximity to land and track over increasingly cooler waters caused the storm to deteriorate into a tropical storm the following day, though it remained at such intensity until degenerating into a remnant low early on July 9. The remnant circulation dissipated a few hours later, southwest of Baja California Sur.

Hurricane Manuel Pacific hurricane in 2013

Hurricane Manuel was the most destructive eastern Pacific tropical cyclone on record. Manuel brought widespread flooding across much of Mexico in September 2013, along with Hurricane Ingrid, which hit the opposite side of the nation the same day as Manuel, the first such occurrence since 1958. The fifteenth named storm and seventh hurricane of the annual hurricane season, Manuel originated from a strong area of low pressure south of Acapulco on September 13. Within favorable conditions aloft, the storm intensified into a tropical storm as it tracked northward. The following day, Manuel curved westward and strengthened to a point just shy of hurricane intensity before making its first landfall at that intensity on September 15. Due to interaction with land, the tropical storm quickly weakened, and its center dissipated over western Mexico on September 16. However, the storm's remnants continued to track northwestward into the Gulf of California, where they reorganized into a tropical cyclone the next day. Manuel regained tropical storm status on September 18 as it began to curve northeastward. Shortly thereafter, Manuel attained Category 1 hurricane intensity, before making its final landfall just west of Culiacán at peak intensity. Over land, Manuel quickly weakened due to interaction with Mexico's high terrain, and the storm dissipated early on September 20.

Hurricane Cosme (2013)

Hurricane Cosme caused flooding along the Pacific coast of Mexico in June 2013. The third named tropical cyclone of the 2013 Pacific hurricane season, the storm system formed from a tropical wave south of Manzanillo, Colima, on June 23. The cyclone intensified into a tropical storm on June 24, and soon after strengthened into a hurricane on June 25. Early the following day, Cosme attained its peak intensity as a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson scale with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph (140 km/h) and a minimum barometric pressure of 980 mbar. However, Cosme then began to encounter stable air and lower sea surface temperatures, causing the system to weaken to a tropical storm late on June 26. The system continued to weaken and degenerated into a remnant low pressure surface trough about 690 mi (1,110 km) west-southwest of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, on June 27. The remnants persisted until dissipating well east-southeast of the Hawaiian Islands on July 1.

Tropical Storm Dolly (2014)

Tropical Storm Dolly was a short-lived and disorganized tropical cyclone that caused moderate damage across Tamaulipas, Mexico, in early September 2014. Originating from a tropical wave, the system first became a tropical depression late on September 1 while situated over the Bay of Campeche. Dolly struggled against strong wind shear for the duration of its existence. The large system featured multiple circulations, sometimes becoming a new dominant center and other times simply rotating around a mean vortex. As a result, multiple center relocations occurred along its general west-northwest track. Dolly eventually made landfall in Tamaulipas on September 3 before degenerating into a remnant low. The system subsequently dissipated the following day.

Tropical Storm Trudy (2014)

Tropical Storm Trudy was a short-lived tropical cyclone in October 2014 that caused significant flooding in southern Mexico. The storm originated from an area of low pressure associated with a monsoon trough near Central America in early October. A slow-moving system, the low eventually consolidated into a tropical depression on October 17 near the Mexican coastline. Favorable environmental conditions aided rapid development of Trudy. Within 15 hours of its designation, an eye formed over the storm's center. Trudy ultimately achieved its peak as a strong tropical storm with 65 mph (100 km/h) winds as it made landfall just southeast of Marquelia, Mexico. The region's mountainous terrain quickly weakened Trudy and the cyclone dissipated early on October 19. Though the cyclone dissipated, its remnant energy later contributed to the formation of Tropical Storm Hanna in the Atlantic.

Hurricane Odile Category 5 Pacific hurricane in 2014

Hurricane Odile is tied for the most intense landfalling tropical cyclone in the Baja California Peninsula during the satellite era. Sweeping across the peninsula in September 2014, Odile inflicted widespread damage, particularly in the state of Baja California Sur, in addition to causing lesser impacts on the Mexican mainland and Southwestern United States. The precursor to Odile developed into a tropical depression south of Mexico on September 10 and quickly reached tropical storm strength. After meandering for several days, Odile began to track northwestward, intensifying to hurricane status before rapidly reaching its Category 4 hurricane peak intensity on September 14. The cyclone slightly weakened before making landfall near Cabo San Lucas with winds of 125 mph (205 km/h). Odile gradually weakened as it tracked across the length of the Baja California Peninsula, briefly crossing into the Gulf of California before degenerating into a remnant system on September 17. These remnants tracked northeastward across the Southwestern United States before they were no longer identifiable on September 19.

Hurricane Carlos (2015)

Hurricane Carlos was an unusually small tropical cyclone which affected the western coast of Mexico in June 2015. Forming as the third named storm and hurricane of the annual hurricane season, Carlos developed from a trough first noted by the National Hurricane Center on June 7. The disturbance gradually organized and was designated as a tropical depression three days later while south of the Mexican Pacific coast. Drifting slowly northwestward, the depression was upgraded further to a tropical storm. Although persistent wind shear and dry air hampered intensification early on, Carlos strengthened into a hurricane on June 13 after moving into a more favorable environment. However, the return of dry air and upwelling of cooler waters caused the system to deteriorate into a tropical storm. Paralleling the Mexican coast, Carlos later regained hurricane intensity on June 15 and attained peak winds of 90 mph (150 km/h) a day later. The reprieve was brief, however, as the onset of wind shear, land interaction, and dry air afterward led to rapid weakening. On June 17, Carlos degenerated into a remnant area of low pressure, having made landfall in Jalisco earlier that day. By the morning of June 18, Carlos was declared to have completely dissipated.

Hurricane Newton (2016) Category 1 Pacific hurricane in 2016

Hurricane Newton was the first hurricane to make landfall on the Baja California Peninsula since Odile in 2014. The fifteenth named storm and the ninth hurricane of the 2016 Pacific hurricane season, Newton formed as a tropical depression out of an area of low pressure off of the coast of Mexico on September 4. Despite only moderately favorable conditions, the storm quickly intensified while moving north and became a hurricane roughly a day after being designated. Attaining peak intensity early on September 6, Newton then proceeded to make landfall on the Baja California Peninsula shortly afterwards. It quickly weakened and degenerated into a remnant low on September 7, before dissipating the next day.

Tropical Storm Vicente (2018)

Tropical Storm Vicente was a weak and small tropical cyclone affected the southwestern Mexico in late October 2018, causing deadly flooding and mudslides. The twenty-first named storm of the 2018 Pacific hurricane season, Vicente originated from a trough of low pressure that formed within a large area of disturbed weather near Central America early on October 19. Around midday, the disturbance organized into a tropical depression, which prompted the National Hurricane Center to begin issuing advisories. Later in day, the depression strengthened into a tropical storm and was assigned the name Vicente. Despite having only been a weak tropical storm, Vicente developed an intermittent eye-like feature. Unfavorable conditions prevented strengthening until late on October 20. At that time, Vicente peaked with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph and a minimum central pressure of 1002 mbar. A day later, Vicente began to weaken due increasing wind shear before slightly restrengthening early on October 22. On October 23, Vicente weakened into a tropical depression. Later in the day, Vicente degenerated into a remnant low after making landfall in southwestern Mexico, before dissipating soon afterward.

Hurricane Willa Category 5 Pacific hurricane in 2018

Hurricane Willa was the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall in the Mexican state of Sinaloa since Lane in 2006. The twenty-second named storm, thirteenth hurricane, tenth major hurricane, and record-tying third Category 5 hurricane of the 2018 Pacific hurricane season, Willa originated from a tropical wave that the National Hurricane Center (NHC) first began monitoring for tropical cyclogenesis in the southwestern Caribbean Sea, on October 14. The system subsequently crossed over Central America into the East Pacific, without significant organization. The NHC continued to track the disturbance until it developed into a tropical depression on October 20, off the coast of southwestern Mexico. Later in the day, the system became a tropical storm as it began to rapidly intensify. On October 21, Willa became a Category 4 major hurricane, before strengthening further to Category 5 intensity on the next day. Afterward, a combination of an eyewall replacement cycle and increasing wind shear weakened the hurricane, and early on October 24, Willa made landfall as a marginal Category 3 hurricane, in Sinaloa of the northwestern Mexico. Following landfall, Willa rapidly weakened, dissipating later on the same day over northeastern Mexico.


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