Calm before the (actual) storm

I don’t know about you, but this seems pretty ominous to me:

A potentially catastrophic landfall is expected Friday evening as a very powerful and dangerous Hurricane Patricia moves towards Mexico’s Pacific coast. Hurricane Patricia became the most powerful tropical cyclone ever measured in the Western Hemisphere on Friday morning as its maximum sustained winds reached an unprecedented 200 mph (320 kph).

The hurricane is forecast to make landfall in the Mexican state of Jalisco Friday evening as a catastrophic Category 5 hurricane capable of causing widespread destruction. Residents and authorities in Mexico are rushing to prepare for what will likely be the strongest hurricane to ever make landfall on that country’s Pacific coastline.

Patricia has the lowest barometric pressure reading ever recorded for a hurricane, 879 millibars, and years of morbidly watching hurricane coverage on the Weather Channel have taught me that that’s one sign of a pretty freaking powerful storm. Also, this is apparently what it looks like from space and HOLY SHIT ARE YOU KIDDING ME:

Here’s a look at it from the International Space Station:

NOAA’s Hurricane Patricia advisory calls the storm “POTENTIALLY CATASTROPHIC,” and, yeah, you can see what they mean. Its massive power is probably being fed by warmer-than-usual Pacific waters created by the current El Niño, which is stronger than usual.

Best wishes to the people of Mexico. Once relief efforts start rolling out I’ll post news on where to donate.

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