By Travis Gumphrey
THE STRONGEST hurricane ever recorded made landfall on the west coast of Mexico, south of Puerto Vallarta, on Friday and threatened to wreak havoc in Texas this weekend.
The Pacific basin’s 16th named storm of the season, Patricia came ashore as a category-five storm with reported sustained wind speeds of 200mph and wind gusts of nearly 250mph.
She is the strongest tropical-weather system to have been tracked by the national hurricane center in either the Atlantic or eastern Pacific basins and also holds the record for the lowest barometric pressure in any hurricane, according to Weather Underground, an online forecasting organization.
As The Post was preparing to go to press on Friday evening, the site predicted that Patricia’s remnants would make their way over northern Mexico and into the Gulf Of Mexico during Saturday and Sunday.
Weather Underground did not expect the storm to regenerate itself as a tropical depression on reaching the Gulf but said that would not reduce its rain levels as it was due to meet a separate upper-level low-pressure system moving into Texas from the West, producing torrential rainfall until Monday.
The site’s prediction models suggested that Patricia would reach northeastern Mexico yesterday, Saturday, evening and arrive in the Gulf sometime today, Sunday.
With the two weather systems clashing hard on the heels of this region’s recent heavy rainfall, the national weather service’s Houston-Galveston area office issued a coastal flood watch until this evening, with a flash flood watch in effect until tomorrow, Monday, morning.
NWS said it expected heavy rainfall across the region with three to five inches throughout most areas and nine to 12 inches in some areas from yesterday to tomorrow morning.
It said that, with the rainfall rate predicted to exceed three inches per hour, street flooding would be highly likely last night and today.