ACAPULCO, Mexico – The world’s fifth-highest wind gust on land was clocked at 205 mph as Hurricane Otis tore through Mexico last month, researchers discovered.
Otis struck the southern Pacific coast near Acapulco on October 25 at 1:25 am CDT. It was classified as a Category 5 hurricane with sustained winds of 165 mph, making it the strongest hurricane on record to make landfall on the Pacific side of Mexico, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
SEE MORE OF HURRICANE OTIS DAMAGE IN ACAPULCO, MEXICO VIA SATELLITE IMAGES
After the storm, the National Tidal Service of the National Autonomous University of Mexico said it sent two technicians to Acapulco to retrieve storm data from its two monitoring stations in the city.
“Considering the trajectory and size of Otis, it is extremely important to recover the information, which is almost the record of the center of the storm,” the agency said.
The record-breaking wind gust was recorded at 12:40 a.m., according to the agency, putting Otis very close to the Eastern Pacific record set by Hurricane Patricia off the coast of Mexico in October 2015. Patrica’s peak intensity in seas are estimated at 185 knots (213 mph), according to the NHC.
The world’s highest land-based wind gust of 253 mph was recorded in April 1996 on Barrow Island, Australia, during Tropical Cyclone Oliva.
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The FOX Weather hurricane specialist said that landfall wind speed and gust measurements will be evaluated.
“Otis was clearly weakening in the hours before landfall, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a notch weaker,” Norcross said. “And the instrument that measures the gust will be checked. Usually, the anemometers are not well calibrated to the strong wind speed, and also the location will be checked if that influenced the measurements.”
The damaging winds from Otis resulted in widespread destruction, causing damage to 80% of Acapulco’s hotels, according to government officials. The storm was followed by power and internet outages, as well as looting throughout the city. Heavy damage also closed Acapulco’s commercial and military airports.
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In the last assessment, the death toll rose to at least 46 people, with nearly 60 people missing, the Mexican government said.
Days after the landfall, rescue crews could not reach the city to provide aid due to the mudslide in the mountainous terrain. The deployed 10,000 troops lack the necessary equipment to clear roads blocked by mud and fallen trees, the Associated Press reported.
According to the NHC, Otis’ peak intensification rate was 110 mph in 24 hours, the second highest recorded rate in the Western Hemisphere, behind only Patricia in October 2015.
In the photo below, the National Tidal Service provides a before-and-after comparison of the weather station located in Acapulco Bay. The weather station was the only structure left standing after the storm, as the entire perimeter fence was destroyed.
HOW DID THE RECORD INTENSIFICATION OF HURRICANE OTIS CAUSE ADVANCED FORECAST MODELS BY SURPRISE?
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The Mexican Red Cross has provided 75 tons of humanitarian aid to those affected by the disaster, while more than 1,600 people remain in shelters in Acapulco and Coyuca de Benítez.