“No hurricane of this magnitude has never touched the Mexican Pacific coast,” was alarmed, Friday, October 23, President Enrique Peña Nieto, a few hours before winds of over 300 km / h hit the west coast of Mexico. Since then, the authorities are trying to avoid a devastating human toll and material.
Called Patricia, this category 5 hurricane, the highest on the Saffir-Simpson made landfall on Friday in State of Jalisco (West), near the port of Manzanillo and the beach resort of Puerto Vallarta. Damaged roads, stacked cars, uprooted trees … The strength of the hurricane also affected the coasts of neighboring states of Nayarit, Colima and Michoacan, declared, with the Jalisco, on high alert.
The eye of the cyclone reached 10 km in diameter, causing winds of 325 km / h, with gusts of 380 km / h and waves of more than 4 m high. A power greater than that of Haiyan typhoon, with winds of 315 km / h had done, November 8, 2013, over 6000 deaths in the Philippines. Friday night, Mr. Peña Nieto announced a lack of victims for the time and lower damage than anticipated, without giving figures.
Impact of global warming
In making landfall, Patricia lost intensity. Roberto Ramirez, director of the Mexican water commission, nevertheless clarified that “ the force of the hurricane is such that it could cross the mountains of central Canada to complete its Race northeast of Mexico “. Saturday, the hurricane was downgraded to Category 2, said the US National Hurricane Center. Intense rainfall is still expected until Saturday in a dozen of the 31 states of the country. The authorities expect a level of rainfall of up to 50 cm in some areas, raising fears of landslides and floods.
To prevent a humanitarian disaster, 50,000 people were evacuated from the coast of Jalisco, Nayarit and Colima. The government also announced the displacement of 15,000 tourists by land from the city of Puerto Vallarta to that of Guadalajara, in Jalisco. Not counting the 11,000 soldiers and police mobilized to transport the homeless shelters in 1782, empowered to accommodate 258,000 people. Ports, airports and schools were closed in the most exposed areas.
The authorities were surprised by the magnitude of the meteorological phenomenon. Initially classified Tropical Storm Patricia was reclassified Thursday by the US hurricane center in Miami Surveillance (NHC), before reaching ten hours in category 5. According to the NHC, the cyclone formed in the waters unusually warm because of the El Niño phenomenon.
The impact of global warming is also singled out in a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the United States, published in September. The latter announced “an intensification in the number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes” as the season of tropical cyclones should be completed in November.