Paper on Hurricane Patricia, the most intense hurricane ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere, released online in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society

In October 2015, off the west coast of Mexico, Hurricane Patricia became the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the western hemisphere, intensifying faster than any other storm on record. A unique set of observations were collected in Patricia. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration/Office of Naval Research (ONR) aircraft flew into and above Patricia from its birth to landfall in Mexico, and on-the ground measurements were obtained during Patricia’s landfall. This paper summarizes the life of Patricia and the observations gathered.Screen Shot 2017-02-14 at 9.51.21 AM.png

Important Conclusions: (two – three)

  • NOAA and ONR aircraft flew into and above Patricia during its entire lifetime, providing unprecedented views of Patricia’s wind, temperature, and moisture from the ocean surface to above the top of the storm. Storm chasers in the path of Patricia’s landfall also collected surface pressure measurements.
  • These observations showed that Hurricane Patricia was a historic storm that broke many records:

Record

Value

Valid region

Fastest 10-s sustained surface wind speed measured by aircraft 94 m s-1 (182 kt; 210 mph) Global
Fastest 10-s flight-level wind speed measured by aircraft 99 m s-1 (192 kt; 221 mph) (tied with Supertyphoon Megi 2010) Global
Lowest minimum pressure measured by aircraft 879 mb (25.96 in) Western hemisphere
Warmest 700-hPa temperature measured by aircraft 32.2° C (90° F) Western hemisphere
Fastest best-track1 maximum sustained wind speed 95 m s-1 (185 kt; 213 mph) Global
Lowest best-track minimum pressure 872 hPa (25.75 in) Western hemisphere
Most rapid best-track intensification rate 97 hPa (2.86 in), 54 m s-1 (105 kt; 120 mph) in 24 h

(97 hPa in 24 h ties Hurricane Wilma 2005)

Global
Most rapid over-water weakening rate 54 hPa (1.59 in), 26 m s-1 (50 kt; 57.5 mph) in 5 h Western hemisphere
Strongest updraft measured by dropsonde2 27.4 m s-1 (53 kt; 61 mph) Global
Highest Advanced Dvorak Technique T-number3 T8.4 (94 m s-1;182 kt; 210 mph) Global
  • The data will be used to study what caused this record-breaking storm, and will help to improve forecasts of these systems.

1 The best track is the National Hurricane Center’s best estimate of the track and intensity of a hurricane after all observations are analyzed after the hurricane season ends.

2 A dropsonde is an instrument released from aircraft that measures temperature, pressure, humidity, and wind velocity as it falls to the surface.

3 The Advanced Dvorak Technique is a way to estimate the intensity of hurricanes from satellite data.

You can read the paper at http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/BAMS-D-16-0039.1 .

This entry was posted in HFIP-Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project, Impacts, Modeling and Prediction, Observations, Publications and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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