Hurricane Patricia is a warning – it just broke our hurricane scale. It won’t be the last!
Don’t take my word for it. The Weather Channel just reported that Hurricane Patricia is the strongest storm ever recorded in the western hemisphere – top speeds were recorded of 235 miles per hour! Luckily its speeds dropped to CAT 5 before it hit land.
Another anomaly with this storm– it went from an insignificant “tropical storm” to roaring CAT 5 winds in just 6 hours! The super-charged hot waters of the Pacific acted like jet fuel to feed this beast. (“Houses of Straw” shows how these “24-hour” hurricanes making ‘boarding up’ almost impossible; they do not give people time to prepare to save their homes by covering their windows, moving to high ground, etc.)
It fact, Patricia was a such a mean machine that for the first time in recorded human history it broke our standard Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale — which tops out at CAT 5 and 157 miles per hour “and above.”At that speed, toss an airplane in the air and it will fly without even turning on the engine!
One expert said that if the hurricane scale was adjusted to reflect this hurricanes actual power, Patricia would have been a CAT 7! (Notice that the scale jumps a category every 20 miles per hour–so winds of 177 would be CAT 6 and winds of 198 would be CAT 7.)
Patricia is not alone – just last August Super-Typhoon Soudelor hit land as a CAT 4, just one of a string of CAT 5 storms in the hot-as-hell Pacific Ocean this year. At one point, we had an unprecedented TWO CAT 5 hurricanes at the same time, both near Hawaii! (photo below)
For the U.S. Patricia will no become a major RAIN event, producing up to 12 inch of rain and flooding. But it is also a warning that the U.S. coasts are vulnerable to bigger storms as the Atlantic Ocean also continues to heat up, providing more jet fuel for future storms.
We are simply not prepared –our structures need to be hardened, especially their weakest link, the window glass — and some need higher elevations to deal with this continued threat from Mother Nature.
Our (free) book “Houses of Straw” explains how most of us are living in ‘houses of straw.’ It has photos showing the forces that tear apart buildings in hurricanes and tornadoes. It shows how to “armor” them to avoid destruction. This would be a good time for citizens and public leaders to read it – and begin preparing for the days ahead when we too will face these Super-Storms that are blowing off the lid of our hurricane scales.
Get prepared. As Patricia and the other Pacific storms this record year shows, this is the new “normal” for weather. We are not prepared!