Winds Over 200 MPH At Inland Elevations
|Second Most Powerful Storm Globally Was 2013|
Increasingly warm ocean waters are pumping up the heat engine that is delivering more powerful storms around the world. The latest monster – which hits the Mexican coast late Friday afternoon – is causing talk of creating a new Category for storms this powerful. Sustained winds hovered around 190 MPH with gusts recorded near 235 MPH before it hit landfall.
But the scariest thing about Patricia – the attribute that has meteorologists and climatologists alarmed – is the speed with which it went from tropical storm to Cat 5 monster. This weather system from hell quickly grew into a thing more powerful than Katrina without breaking a sweat. The expression “never seen anything like it” appeared in every news account.
One of the reasons these mega storms are forming faster and generating such high winds is rising ocean temperatures that now extend to lower depths. Typically, the churning effect of a storm brings cooler water up from beneath the surface, which has the effect of reducing total energy in the storm. With less cold water to tap into, the storms grow larger faster. While the El Nino warming anomaly is indeed cyclical, ocean temperatures planet-wide are trending sharply upward.
Patricia is the latest in a record breaking season for Cat 4+ and Cat 5+ hurricanes or typhoons.* This year’s 22 megastorms eclipsed the year 2004, which had 18.
* Typhoons are what foreigners call hurricanes.