Waiting for Patricia

Here at latitude 20˚S in Mexico we get hurricanes. Normally they head off west into the Pacific without doing any damage, but late in the year they sometimes turn right and head inland. Hurricane Patricia is doing that right now. And Patricia isn’t just any old hurricane. According to weather.com it’s “the most powerful tropical cyclone ever measured in the Western Hemisphere”.

And where do I sit in relation to it?

And Patricia is coming this way.

Will we survive? Probably. When the eye of the storm passes west of here in the early hours of tomorrow it will no longer be packing sustained winds of 200mph and we will be outside the zone of strongest winds anyway. But Guadalajara (we live about 20 miles south) still has a 91% probability of sustained winds greater than 39mph and a 5% probability of sustained winds greater than 74mph, which works out roughly to a 51% probability of sustained winds greater than 50mph – enough to bring power lines down and tear branches off trees. On top of that we’re also scheduled to receive 3-5 inches of rain (we’ve had over an inch already).

So if you don’t hear from me for a while after tomorrow it’s not because I’m ignoring you.

Conditions at present? Low cloud, light rain and wind picking up from the east. Just like Scotland. Off to check the roof drains and move patio furniture indoors.

Update by Euan, Sat 24th @ 10:00 am BST

The Financial Times carries this headline:
Worst hurricane ever’ hits Mexico

And the BBC:
Hurricane Patricia: Risk of floods and landslides

and goes on to say:

President Enrique Pena Nieto said Patricia – the strongest storm recorded in the Americas – had so far caused less damage than feared.

The US National Hurricane Centre said the hurricane hit as a Category Five storm – the highest classification.

It has since been downgraded to a Category Two tropical storm.

I think there may be a lot of rain.

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37 Responses to Waiting for Patricia

  1. Euan Mearns says:

    Yes, good luck Roger. Here’s hoping Patricia continues to track N and does not veer NE. For so long as you have leccy and internet I hope you post updates on notable events in your home town and else where in Mexico as these unfold. It sounds like some coastal towns are in for a real battering.

    I’ve been looking for an excuse to post these SST charts. Its is predictable that Patricia will be haled as further evidence for global warming. I believe we have to assume that much of the energy for Patricia comes from the building El Nino. The SST map for 15 Oct 2015 needs to be compared with the map for 14 Oct 1997 that was during the build up for the big 1998 event. Note that the temperature spike in 1998 occurred early in the year. I was surprised to see how similar the global SST pictures are.

  2. burnsider says:

    It’s been a busy year for hurricanes in the Pacific Basin – 3 major storms simultaneously a couple of months ago, which is unprecedented (apparently)

  3. burnsider says:

    Just noticed, but without counting squares, etc the 2015 SST picture looks as if it has more reds and oranges in it, esp Indian Ocean and NE Atlantic

  4. A C Osborn says:

    Roger, good luck.
    I do not wish to denigrate the dangers of Hurricanes and Typhoons, but the Weather Services have been over hyping the Hurricanes and Typhoons for about 3 years now.
    The Satellite measurements of Wind Speed appear to bear no relationship to the Ground Wind Speed experienced by us humans.
    So I would be very much obliged if Roger could find out some Actual Sustained Wind Speeds and Some “Gust” Wind Speds from ground based observitories in the area of Landfall.

    Every one of the last dozen or so Hurricanes/Typhoons have apparently had some of the “highest and most powerful wind speeds ever recorded”.

    But not according to the NuSchool Earth Wind Map, guess which one has been most accurate when compred to the actual ground based values?

    Where the Weather Services are talking Mph NuSchool shows Kph and usually less kph than the the value for Mph being banded about, so will this one be different?

    NuSchool is currently showing around 145Kph, take a look at

    Then check out

    18.00° N, 105.51° W ✕

    135° @ 145 km/h

    29.0 °C

  5. aizolnai says:

    not for you but for your readers a web map from NOAA http://arcg.is/1LS9WEL

  6. roberto says:


    from the USGS…. on the relationship between the supposed increase of “exceptional events” and global warming…



  7. nand says:

    Hello Roger,
    We’re hoping this isn’t “bye, bye and thanks for all the fish” – thanks to you and Euan for all your posts.
    Good luck

  8. Graeme No.3 says:

    Good luck. Stay under cover if you can.

  9. 8pm update. Rain coming down, the wind is starting to blow, the barometer is dropping fast and the worst is yet some hours away. The power is still on but getting squirrely. We are now given a 100% chance of sustained winds exceeding 39mph and an 11% chance of winds exceeding 74mph so if you hear nothing from me tomorrow morning you can assume that the forecast was right. 🙁

    • A C Osborn says:

      The latest track shows it passing to the north of Guadalaja so hopefully you will miss the worst of it.
      The biggest problem seems to be the same as the last Pacific Typhoon and is the amount of water that is being dropped in a short time.

  10. Hugh Sharman says:


    I am glad for Mexico (and you) to hear that Patricia lost force very suddenly upon landfall but that you are going to need good rainclothes when you venture out and hopefully over-sized storm drains in the vicinity.

    When this is all over, it will be interesting to receive from you an autopsy of the “greatest hurricane ever recorded”.

    Stay dry!

    • Roger Andrews says:

      Well here I am back again, alive and with a roof still over my head.

      Patricia, like Godot, never arrived.

      The brief update I posted at 8pm (our time) last night turned out to be the height of the storm, if such it can be called. Just after I posted it the wind died and the barometer reversed course and started to rise and shortly after that the rain stopped. I guess Patricia fell apart after landfall. The mountains of Mexico will do that to hurricanes. Here are a couple of graphs from out local weather station.

      Although we did get about three inches of rain, in line with expectations.

      So now I have to move all the furniture that I moved inside yesterday back outside, and the people who filled their bathtubs have to empty them and the people who boarded their windows up have to unboard them and the people who canceled social events today in anticipation of high winds and rain have egg on their face. But according to early reports Patricia caused no major damage or loss of life so I guess we should be thankful for that.

      • Euan Mearns says:

        Roger, It is a good thing to be prepared for something that did not come to pass. Hopefully that wavy palm tree survived. One look at the topography of west coast tells you that mountains will rip a storm apart.

        Like Hugh, i’d be interested in an autopsy of why the biggest baddest hurricane ever turned into a damp squib. Why should the FT be drooling over headlines like:

        Worst hurricane ever’ hits Mexico

        ??? AC touches on this in his comments.

        • It wasn’t a damp squib everywhere. There are still no reports from a number of coastal towns and a couple of major roads are blocked by landslides. And right at hurricane ground zero was El Castillo de Cuixmala, an over-the-top five-star hotel.

          Hopefully they evacuated everyone in time.

  11. Hugh Sharman says:

    while in Bonn….”Struggling to hold back tears, Roberto Dondisch Glowinski told a meeting wracked by bitter squabbles that people were being evacuated ahead of the level-five Hurricane Patricia.”


    Heart breaking stuff!

  12. burnsider says:

    Some information about Patricia’s place in the pantheon of hurricanes at


    The storm seems to have been quite compact – ” Hurricane force winds extended only 35 miles (55 km) outwards from the center.” – thank goodness!

  13. A C Osborn: You were asking about data on wind speeds. This is all I can find (Cuixmala is where Patricia made landfall):

    A weather station operated by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Cuixmala, Jalisco, reported an unofficial wind gust of 211 mph before failing as Hurricane Patricia made landfall.


    • A C Osborn says:

      Odd that a University should be at such odds with other areas that measured no more than Category 2 Storm winds who are backed up by the levels of damage.
      It makes me wonder if they have an agenda.

  14. Leo Smith says:

    Looks like it was a wet squib.

    Lots of rain but the terrain ripped the heart out of the winds

  15. AC. We’re getting cramped for space up above and since you’re obviously determined to pursue this question I’m starting afresh.

    First, let’s assume the Cuixmala records are indeed worthless. Now we have no idea what wind speeds were at landfall and can’t prove anything either way. Further discussion is pointless.

    Second, having personally wasted a lot of effort preparing for high winds that never arrived I have to agree that Patricia was overhyped, but you don’t need wind speed data to demonstrate this. All you need do is look at the ACE numbers I linked to earlier, which show Patricia as a very ordinary hurricane in terms of dissipated energy.

    Third, to say that I was in fear of my life is putting it a little strongly. My main concern was being without power for several days and watching all the food in my freezer slowly go off.

    Fourth, the pictures in Homewood’s post “What the ‘strongest ever’ hurricane looks like” show the negligible effects of the hurricane on Puerto Vallarta and surrounding beach resorts. Why were the impacts negligible? Because the hurricane missed Puerto Vallarta altogether. Not exactly blogging’s finest hour.

    • Graeme No.3 says:

      Well I am glad you suffered only inconvenience, but it does seem that certain people were inflating the possible consequences.

  16. burnsider says:

    Conspiracy theories apart, it’s still been a busy hurricane season in the Pacific basin:-

    “Patricia is the ninth hurricane in the eastern Pacific to reach category 4 or 5 status during the 2015 season, which runs from mid May through November. The season in the North Pacific has been a busy one that has been at least partly fueled by a strong El Niño”


    It can only be good that the damage was less severe than expected.

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