Hurricane Patricia was a force to be reckoned with not only in its record breaking intensity by central pressure, but also by its impressive rainfall in the Gulf coast states. If the minimum pressure recorded by NOAA’s Hurricane Hunter aircraft of 879 hPa verifies, it will beat the Hurricane Wilma for the most intense tropical cyclone by central pressure in the Western Hemisphere. Another astonishing fact about Hurricane Patricia was its impressively quick transition from tropical storm to category 5 hurricane in 24-hours. Winds recorded on October 22nd at 3UTC (9pm MDT) were at 65mph, which classified it as a tropical storm. One day later on October 23rd at 3UTC (9pm MDT) winds had reached 160mph, classifying it as a category 5 Hurricane. In the same 24-hour period the central pressure had decreased from 994 hPa to 924 hPa, making an impressive 70 hPa drop in pressure.
As the system passed over the Sierra Madre mountains in Mexico, it weakened rapidly and dropped below the wind requirements for a tropical depression before it arrived on the east coast of Mexico. As the remnants continued east-northeast into the Gulf of Mexico, the warm moist air was advected over the Gulf coast states. This moisture fueled the large rainfall totals experienced in Texas and Louisiana over the weekend. In a preliminary MetStorm analysis from October 22nd at 12Z (6am MDT) through October 26th at 12Z (6am MDT) the maximum estimated precipitation was 22.5″ over the location south-southeast of Dallas, Texas. Other precipitation estimates for this storm near North Houston were around 10″ and around Baton Rouge were a little over 9″. The bulk of the precipitation, as shown by the mass curve plot below, at the storm center near south-southeast Dallas occurred in a short period of time, with showers trailing over the next day and a half.
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