What Makes Patricia the Most Powerful Hurricane Ever?
Part of the reason the storm intensified so quickly is an unusually deep pool of warm water off Mexico's coast.
Patricia exploded from a tropical storm on Wednesday evening to a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale within 24 hours. Though it had been downgraded to a tropical depression by Saturday morning, Patricia's intensification was one of the most dramatic of any hurricane, cyclone, or typhoon on record.
"This is the type of worst case scenario that we fear," said Derrick Herndon, an atmospheric scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies in Madison, Wisconsin, on Friday. He's never seen a storm grow so powerful so quickly.
Patricia packed sustained winds of 165 miles (265 kilometers) per hour when it hit southwestern Mexico at 6:15 p.m. local time. By early Saturday morning, its winds had weakened to about 75