As Hurricane Patricia slams Mexico, what’s it mean for NJ?
Patricia is a historic and incredibly powerful Category 5 hurricane, with 200+ mph winds and the one of the lowest barometric pressures on record.
As of Friday morning, Major Hurricane Patricia is located in the Pacific Ocean, just off the southwestern coast of Mexico. According to the 5 a.m. EDT update from the National Hurricane Center, maximum sustained winds are at least 200 mph (with higher gusts), and the central barometric pressure is about 880 mb.
Patricia is now the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Northeastern Pacific Ocean. And, according to my research, those numbers are stronger than any hurricane in the Atlantic basin too.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Patricia is an extremely dangerous storm that will make landfall near the Mexican states of Jalisco and Colima around Friday afternoon or evening. Hurricane Warnings are now posted from San Blas to Punta San Telmo, with a Hurricane Watch and Tropical Warning in effect from Punta San Telmo to Lazaro Cardenas.
Putting Hurricane Patricia's incredible strength in perspective...
- The strongest winds recorded in a landfalling eastern Pacific tropical system came from an unnamed hurricane that struck the same area of Mexico in October 1959... 160 mph. (Patricia's estimated sustained winds are over 200 mph.)
- For comparison, the highest sustained winds recorded in an Atlantic hurricane occurred during Hurricane Allen, which struck the Caribbean, Mexico, and Texas in August 1980... 190 mph.
- The previous record for the lowest barometric pressure in an eastern Pacific hurricane was Linda in September 1997... 902 mb. (Patricia has stolen this record, with minimum central pressure of 880 mb.)
- For comparison, the most intense (lowest pressure) in an Atlantic hurricane was Hurricane Wilma from October 2005... 882 mb.
- The lowest pressure recorded on earth occurred as a result of Typhoon Tip, in the western Pacific from October 1979... 970 mb.
- Hurricane Sandy's highest sustained winds were around 115 mph. New Jersey's top wind gust from Sandy was 90 mph.
- Hurricane Katrina's top winds were estimated at 175 mph. The central pressure of Katrina dropped to 902 mb.
Where will Patricia go after landfall?
Here is Friday morning's spaghetti plot of forecast model tracks...
Yes, there are several models that show the remnants of Patricia will aim for New Jersey, after crossing over into the Gulf of Mexico and pushing into the U.S. Gulf Coast through early next week. As the storm continues downstream, New Jersey could experience some potentially heavy rain and wind around Wednesday (according to the GFS) or Thursday (according to the Euro) of next week.