I’m guessing you’ve heard by now that Hurricane Patricia was at one point the most powerful storm ever recorded (EVER). When Hurricane Patricia made landfall on Mexico’s Pacific coast the storm was a Category 5 hurricane, with sustained winds in excess of 165 mph. Well, the ‘Hurricane Hunters’ flew their plane right into the middle of the storm’s eye and filmed what is being called the most intense turbulence ever witnessed:
The Hurricane Hunters are a crew of 13 men thought that flying their plane into the eye of the storm would make for some badass footage and maybe be of scientific value, they’re also a team from NOAA’s Aircraft Operation Center ( National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). According to ABC News, Hurricane Patricia was the most intense flying one of the pilots had ever experienced:
One of three pilots of the mission, NOAA Lt. Cdr Patrick Didier, told ABC News today that out of all the 3,800 hours of flight time he’s clocked so far, his last flight into Hurricane Patricia on Friday “was the most intense turbulence I’d ever encountered.”
He added, “Basically, we’re pretty used to going into these storms, but you know it’s bad when all of this just catches us by surprise.”
The group had done two other flights on Wednesday and Thursday, and Didier said that it was “incredible” watching Patricia “go from an area of interest to a tropical storm to one of the strongest hurricanes ever.”
Here’s the YouTube version, for those of you that prefer that over Facebook video:
Remarkably, Hurricane Patricia didn’t bring nearly a fraction of the destruction of the Cat-5 hurricanes that have hit the United States in the past few decades (Katrina, Andrew). This was due to a mixture of Patricia making landfall in an extremely sparsely populated region of Mexico, and the Sierra Madre mountains turning Patricia from a Category 5 Hurricane to a Tropical Storm in no time. With the extremely tall mountains blocking Patricia’s flow the backside of the storm was decimated, and Patricia began to weaken faster than most hurricanes.
This is in stark contrast with a Hurricane hovering over the Gulf of Mexico and attempting to cross the flat lands of New Orleans or Florida. In those situations there’s nothing at all to slow the storm, as portions of the storm are often still hovering over warm water and allowing the storm to maintain full strength.