Over a 21-hour period from October 22 to 23, 2015, Hurricane Patricia strengthened from a Category one to a Category five storm on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale, breaking a number of meteorological records along the way prior to slamming into the southwestern coast of Mexico near Cuixmala. Hurricane Patricia’s maximum sustained winds of 200 mi/h (325 km/h) were the strongest ever recorded for a tropical cyclone. In terms of strength as measured by barometric pressure, at 879 millibars (25.96 inches Hg) Hurricane Patricia became the most powerful tropical cyclone observed in the Western Hemisphere. Twenty hours following landfall, Hurricane Patricia dissipated—a fairly rapid reduction in strength caused by the mountains in its path after landfall. The reported loss of life and damage from the storm were relatively low, particularly in comparison with its early peak in ferocity. See also: Cyclone; Hurricane; Pacific Ocean; Tropical meteorology; Wind
According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), conditions of warm sea-surface temperatures caused by the 2015 El Niño and the warm “blob” extending from the Bering Sea to the Pacific Coast of Mexico as well as little wind shear or dry air to disrupt the storm were responsible for its rapid strengthening. See also: El Niño; Warm blob in the Pacific Ocean
October 20, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. EDT: A low pressure area off the southwestern coast of Mexico developed into a tropical depression, with maximum sustained winds of 40 mi/h (64km/h).
October 20, 2015 at 11:00 p.m. EDT: The tropical depression became Tropical Storm Patricia.
October 22, 2015 at 8:00 a.m. EDT: Tropical Storm Patricia became a Category one hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 85 mi/h (137 km/h).
October 23, 2015 at 5:00 a.m. EDT: Hurricane Patricia's maximum sustained winds peaked at 200 mi/h (325 km/h).
October 23, 2015 at 7:15 p.m. EDT: The center of the eye of Hurricane Patricia made landfall along the southwestern coast of Mexico near Cuixmala, with maximum sustained winds of 165 mi/h (265 km/h).
October 24, 2015 at 3:00 p.m. EDT: Tropical depression Patricia dissipated in northeast Mexico, with maximum sustained winds of 30 mi/h (48 km/h).