Dangerous Rapidly Intensifying Landfalling Hurricanes Like Michael and Harvey May Grow More Common. jpratt27
Dr. Emanuel gave another troubling example of a rapid intensification evert that was poorly forecasted: Hurricane Patricia of October 2015, which hit a relatively unpopulated portion of the Pacific coast of Mexico as a Category 4 storm with 150 mph winds after topping out as the strongest tropical cyclone ever measured, with 215 mph sustained winds.
During a 24-hour period from 6Z October 22 to 6Z October 23, Patricia intensified by an astonishing 120 mph—from an 85 mph Category 1 storm to a 205 mph Category 5 storm (this was very close to the maximum change in intensity that theory says can happen: 125 mph in 24 hours). During this same period, the National Hurricane Center predicted an intensification by only 35 mph. Dr. Emanuel noted, “Had the storm made landfall at the end of this period of rapid intensification, the result could have been catastrophic given the poor anticipation of the magnitude of the event.” As I wrote in my 2016 blog post, Hurricane Patricia’s 215 mph Winds: A Warning Shot Across Our Bow, we need to be prepared for global warming to bring us more hurricanes like Patricia, which theory and computer modeling predict will happen more often in a warming climate.