All eyes are on Hurricane Patricia in the eastern Pacific tonight, as the Category 5 storm bears down on Mexico. Earlier today, the storm reached its peak intensity, with maximum sustained wind speeds of 200mph and a central pressure of 879mb. Patricia will go down in history as the STRONGEST hurricane on record. The key word there is "hurricane," as that’s what we call tropical cyclones in the Western Hemisphere. This storm is significant for so many reasons, but one of those reasons is the fact that it was able to intensify SO QUICKLY. In just 24 hours the minimal central pressure dropped more than 100mb, and the max sustained wind speeds increased by 115mph! One of the signatures of El Nino is the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean… and Patricia was able to feed on this.
For your personal record books: Typhoon Nancy in 1961 still holds the record for the strongest sustained winds in any tropical cyclone, at 215mph. Typhoon Tip in 1979 holds the record for the lowest central pressure of any tropical cyclone, at 870mb. Regardless, we won’t be seeing another "Patricia" anytime soon. Once a storm makes headlines like this, the name is retired from the list of tropical cyclones from the National Hurricane Center.
Many people on social media tonight have said, "but what does this have to do with weather in New England?" Well, believe it or not – some of the moisture and energy from the leftovers of Patricia could be pulled in our direction by the middle of next week. It’s looking more and more likely that another system will grab some of this moisture from the south and drive it into our backyard by late Wednesday. A much needed, good, soaking rain could be in store for us Wednesday into Thursday. Stay tuned, and we’ll keep you posted on this part of the forecast as details become more clear.
Now, back to the here and now. The weekend looks very cool and fall-like, with temps topping out in the low 50s Saturday and closer to 60 on Sunday. Saturday looks dry, but the cool air over relatively warm ocean waters will bring us some ocean-effect clouds and possibly even some spot showers (a 5 to 10% chance). Less wind will make the cool temperatures more bearable tomorrow, but you’ll still want to bundle up. A weak front moves through on Sunday and will bring us some showers – but don’t worry – we’ll be dry by kickoff for the Pats game! You may need some rain gear for early tailgating, but I wouldn’t cancel any plans for Sunday – it’s FAR from a soaker. Have a great weekend and GO PATS! – Breezy