Patricia, strongest landfalling Pacific hurricane on record, downgraded to tropical storm

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Hurricane Patricia Quickly Weakening

By Weather.com

Former Hurricane Patricia was downgraded to a tropical storm Saturday morning just 13 hours after becoming the strongest hurricane ever known to make landfall on the Pacific coast of Mexico. Patricia is expected to dissipate over the high mountain terrain of Mexico later Saturday before adding moisture to an already

Earlier Friday, Patricia became the most powerful tropical cyclone ever measured in the Western Hemisphere as its maximum sustained winds reached an unprecedented 200 mph (320 kph) and its central pressure fell to 879 millibars (25.96 inches of mercury).

MORE: Mexico Prepares for Patricia

At 7 a.m. CDT Saurday, the center of Tropical Storm Patricia was located 35 miles (55 km) northeast of Zacatecas, Mexico, and was moving toward the north-northeast at 21 mph (33 kph). Maximum sustained winds were 50 mph, a decrease of 25 mph from the 4 a.m. advisory.

The eye of Hurricane Patricia made landfall Friday at 6:15 p.m. CDT near Cuixmala in Jalisco state of southwest Mexico. Maximum sustained winds at landfall were estimated at 165 mph, still firmly within the Category 5 range on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

An automated weather observation site in Cuixmala reported a 185-mph wind with a gust of 211 mph at the time of landfall, but NOAA cautioned that these measurements have not been evaluated for quality or calibration.

The landfall point was about 60 miles (96 km) northwest of Manzanillo, where tropical storm-force winds likely occurred.

An enhanced satellite image showing Category 5 Hurricane Patricia at landfall near Cuixmala, Mexico at 6:15 p.m. CDT, Oct. 23, 2015.

In addition to its unprecedented 200-mph (320-kph) sustained winds earlier Friday, Hurricane Patricia now holds the record for lowest pressure in any hurricane on record. With a minimum central pressure of 880 millibars (25.99 inches of mercury) at the 4 a.m. CDT advisory, Patricia broke the record of 882 millibars set by Wilma in the Atlantic Basin almost exactly 10 years ago. Around 1 p.m. CDT Friday, the minimum central pressure reached its lowest point, 879 millibars (25.96 inches of mercury).

Data from an Air Force Hurricane Hunter airborne reconnaissance mission late Thursday night provided critical data demonstrating the extreme intensification of Hurricane Patricia in near-real time. A new NOAA reconnaissance aircraft reached the eye of Patricia early Friday afternoon to gather additional direct measurements of the storm's intensity.

Unprecedented Among Pacific Hurricanes

Hurricane Patricia became the strongest Pacific hurricane on record shortly after midnight CDT early Friday. Air Force Hurricane Hunters had flown through the eye of Patricia and reported a sea-level pressure of 894 millibars as measured by a dropsonde inside the eye itself. Wind measurements suggested that the pressure measurement was not in the exact center of the eye and was probably not the absolute lowest pressure, prompting NHC to estimate the minimum central pressure at 892 millibars in its special 12:30 a.m. CDT advisory.

Tropical cyclone strength comparisons are typically based on minimum central pressure. At 892 millibars, Patricia shattered the Eastern Pacific basin's previous record of 902 millibars set by Hurricane Linda in 1997.

While a number of typhoons in the western North Pacific have been stronger, Patricia is by far the strongest hurricane in any basin where the term "hurricane" applies to tropical cyclones – namely, the central and eastern North Pacific basins and the North Atlantic basin, which includes the North Atlantic Ocean itself plus the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.

Click through to see the aftermath of the historic storm:

25 PHOTOS
Hurricane Patricia damage and aftermath
See Gallery
Patricia, strongest landfalling Pacific hurricane on record, downgraded to tropical storm
View of a street in Barra de Navidad, Jalisco state, partially destroyed after Hurricane Patricia hit the shore on October 24, 2015. Record-breaking Hurricane Patricia weakened to a tropical storm over north-central Mexico on Saturday, dumping heavy rain that triggered flooding and landslides but so far causing less damage than feared. AFP PHOTO/OMAR TORRES (Photo credit should read OMAR TORRES/AFP/Getty Images)
A sofa and refrigerator lie among the debris of homes destroyed by Hurricane Patricia, in Chamela, Mexico, Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015. Record-breaking Patricia pushed rapidly inland over mountainous western Mexico early Saturday, weakening to tropical storm force while dumping torrential rains that authorities warned could cause deadly floods and mudslides. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
Soldiers help a woman to leave her flooded house to take her to a shelter in Zoatlan, Nayarit state, some 150 km northwest of Guadalajara, Mexico, Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015. Hurricane Patricia made landfall Friday on a sparsely populated stretch of Mexico's Pacific coast as a Category 5 storm, avoiding direct hits on the resort city of Puerto Vallarta and major port city of Manzanillo as it weakened to tropical storm force while dumping torrential rains that authorities warned could cause deadly floods and mudslides. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
Aerial view of of Manzanillo beach in Colima State, Mexico on October 24, 2015 after the passage of hurricane Patricia. Patricia flattened dozens of homes on Mexico's Pacific coast, but authorities said Saturday the record-breaking hurricane largely spared the country as it weakened to a tropical depression. AFP PHOTO/MARIO VAZQUEZ (Photo credit should read MARIO VAZQUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Residents of the Chamela community return to their homes after the passage of hurricane Patricia in the southern coast of the state of Jalisco, Mexico on October 24, 2015. Patricia flattened dozens of homes on Mexico's Pacific coast, but authorities said Saturday the record-breaking hurricane largely spared the country as it weakened to a tropical depression. AFP PHOTO/HECTOR GUERRERO (Photo credit should read HECTOR GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images)
Maria del Refugio Ruiz Bravo sets out to dry personal belongings soaked by Hurricane Patricia, in La Fortuna, Mexico, Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015. Record-breaking Patricia pushed rapidly inland over mountainous western Mexico early Saturday, weakening to tropical storm force while dumping torrential rains that authorities warned could cause deadly floods and mudslides. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
View of a damaged restaurant in Barra de Navidad, Jalisco state, after Hurricane Patricia hit the shore on October 24, 2015. Record-breaking Hurricane Patricia weakened to a tropical storm over north-central Mexico on Saturday, dumping heavy rain that triggered flooding and landslides but so far causing less damage than feared. AFP PHOTO/OMAR TORRES (Photo credit should read OMAR TORRES/AFP/Getty Images)
MELAQUE, MEXICO - OCTOBER 24: A worker cleans out the 'Monterey' Hotel after damage from Hurricane Patricia October 24, 2015 in Melaque, Jalisco, Mexico. Hurricane Patricia struck Mexico's West coast as the most powerful storm ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere but rapidly lost energy as it moved inland. (Photo by Brett Gundlock/Getty Images)
A wrecked house in the Chamela community after the passage of hurricane Patricia in southern Jalisco, Mexico on October 24, 2015. Patricia flattened dozens of homes on Mexico's Pacific coast, but authorities said Saturday the record-breaking hurricane largely spared the country as it weakened to a tropical depression. AFP PHOTO/HECTOR GUERRERO (Photo credit should read HECTOR GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images)
Mexican soldiers patrol looking for people who ask for help after the passage of hurricane Patricia in El Rebalse community, Mexico on October 24, 2015. Patricia flattened dozens of homes on Mexico's Pacific coast, but authorities said Saturday the record-breaking hurricane largely spared the country as it weakened to a tropical depression. AFP PHOTO/HECTOR GUERRERO (Photo credit should read HECTOR GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images)
Artificial flowers sit on a makeshift shelf in the home of Sergio Reyna Ruiz, a day after Hurricane Patricia tore off a section of the roof, in La Fortuna, Mexico, Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015. Just next door the home of Reyna's sister, suffered much more damage, as winds tore off most of the roof, soaking mattresses and destroying the belongings of the seven-person family. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
A local resident in his wrecked house in the Chamela community after the passage of hurricane Patricia in southern Jalisco, Mexico on October 24, 2015. Patricia flattened dozens of homes on Mexico's Pacific coast, but authorities said Saturday the record-breaking hurricane largely spared the country as it weakened to a tropical depression. AFP PHOTO/HECTOR GUERRERO (Photo credit should read HECTOR GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images)
MEXICO - 2015/10/25: A farmer harvests papaya fruit from the uprooted plants in Michoacan's coast. Hurricane Patricia hit the southwestern Mexico and Categorized as storm 5, bringing lashing rains, surging seas and cyclonic winds hours after it peaked, it is one of the strongest storms ever recorded. (Photo by Armando Solis/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Aerial view of the Chamela community, Jalisco State, Mexico on October 24, 2015 after the passage of hurricane Patricia. Patricia flattened dozens of homes on Mexico's Pacific coast, but authorities said Saturday the record-breaking hurricane largely spared the country as it weakened to a tropical depression. AFP PHOTO/MARIO VAZQUEZ (Photo credit should read MARIO VAZQUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Aerial view of the Chamela community, Jalisco State, Mexico on October 24, 2015 after the passage of hurricane Patricia. Patricia flattened dozens of homes on Mexico's Pacific coast, but authorities said Saturday the record-breaking hurricane largely spared the country as it weakened to a tropical depression. AFP PHOTO/MARIO VAZQUEZ (Photo credit should read MARIO VAZQUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Residents stand outside their flooded house in Zoatlan, Nayarit state, some 150 km northwest of Guadalajara, Mexico, Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015. Hurricane Patricia made landfall Friday on a sparsely populated stretch of Mexico's Pacific coast as a Category 5 storm, avoiding direct hits on the resort city of Puerto Vallarta and major port city of Manzanillo as it weakened to tropical storm force while dumping torrential rains that authorities warned could cause deadly floods and mudslides. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
Men remove protective wood beams from the front of a business the morning after Hurricane Patricia passed further south sparing Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015. The storm made landfall Friday evening on Mexico's Pacific coast as a Category 5 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 165 mph (270 kph) but it is rapidly losing steam as it moves over a mountainous region inland from the shore.(AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
A wrecked house in the Chamela community after the passage of hurricane Patricia in southern Jalisco, Mexico on October 24, 2015. Patricia flattened dozens of homes on Mexico's Pacific coast, but authorities said Saturday the record-breaking hurricane largely spared the country as it weakened to a tropical depression. AFP PHOTO/HECTOR GUERRERO (Photo credit should read HECTOR GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images)
CUASTECOMATES, MEXICO - OCTOBER 24: A truck sits covered in tree branches on October 24, 2015 in Cuastecomates, Mexico. The damage was caused by Hurricane Patricia, which struck Mexico's West coast yesterday afternoon and left minor flooding and damage. Cuastecomates is near Barra de Navidad, which was where the center of the hurricane hit. (Photo by Brett Gundlock/Getty Images)
Aerial view of the Manzanillo-Colima roadin Colima State, Mexico on October 24, 2015 after the passage of hurricane Patricia. Patricia flattened dozens of homes on Mexico's Pacific coast, but authorities said Saturday the record-breaking hurricane largely spared the country as it weakened to a tropical depression. AFP PHOTO/MARIO VAZQUEZ (Photo credit should read MARIO VAZQUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
A restaurant partially destroyed by hurricane Patricia in Las Manzanillas, Jalisco state, Mexico on October 24, 2015. Patricia flattened dozens of homes on Mexico's Pacific coast, but authorities said Saturday the record-breaking hurricane largely spared the country as it weakened to a tropical depression. AFP PHOTO/OMAR TORRES (Photo credit should read OMAR TORRES/AFP/Getty Images)
A Mexican soldier stands guard in a banana plantation after the passage of hurricane Patricia in El Rebalse community, Mexico on October 24, 2015. Patricia flattened dozens of homes on Mexico's Pacific coast, but authorities said Saturday the record-breaking hurricane largely spared the country as it weakened to a tropical depression. AFP PHOTO/HECTOR GUERRERO (Photo credit should read HECTOR GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images)
TECOMAN MX - OCTOBER 24: A truck drives through a flooded out turn off at the entrance to the city after heavy flooding from Hurriane Patricia October 24, 2015 in Tecoman, Colima, Mexico. Hurricane Patricia struck Mexico's West coast as the most powerful storm ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere but rapidly lost energy as it moved inland. (Photo by Brett Gundlock/Getty Images)
A man stares at the sea in a partially destroyed street in Barra de Navidad, Jalisco state, after Hurricane Patricia hit the shore on October 24, 2015. Record-breaking Hurricane Patricia weakened to a tropical storm over north-central Mexico on Saturday, dumping heavy rain that triggered flooding and landslides but so far causing less damage than feared. AFP PHOTO/OMAR TORRES (Photo credit should read OMAR TORRES/AFP/Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Rapid Weakening

Patricia's winds will continue to wind down as its center grinds across the rugged terrain of Mexico's interior.

The center of Patricia has pushed inland on a track that spared most if not all of Mexico's major cities, including the popular coastal resort city of Puerto Vallarta and the inland metropolis of Guadalajara, Mexico's second-largest city.

MAP: Track Hurricane Patricia with Our New Interactive Storm Tracker

Heavy rainfall remains a concern as Patricia pushes inland. The rain could cause flash flooding and mudslides.

As of 9:50 p.m. CDT Friday, the city of Colima had reported 158 millimeters (6.22 inches) of rainfall over a 27-hour period.

Forecast: Guadalajara | Manzanillo | Puerto Vallarta

All hurricane and tropical storm warnings have been discontinued for the Mexican coast.

Only one Category 5 hurricane had ever previously been known to make landfall on Mexico's Pacific coast. That hurricane followed a path similar to that of Hurricane Patricia and struck near Puerto Vallarta in late October 1959, causing some 1,800 deaths.

MORE: Expert Analysis | Hurricane Central

The good news is the core of strongest winds only occurred over a very small area near the center, with hurricane force winds that extended outward up to 30 miles from the center at landfall. Tropical storm force winds extended outward up to 175 miles, although the size and intensity of the wind field has continued to shrink as the storm pushes inland.

This is the first time a Category 5 hurricane has posed an imminent threat to land in North America since Hurricane Felix approached Nicaragua in September 2007.

As this system moves inland, mid-level moisture and energy from it will get pulled into the south-central U.S, adding to a heavy rain and flooding threat in Texas and nearby states this weekend.

Impressive Rapid Intensification

Patricia rapidly organized and intensified from Wednesday night through early Friday. Maximum sustained winds with the storm increased 115 mph in a 24-hour window from 85 mph at 4 a.m. CDT Thursday to 200 mph at 4 a.m. CDT Friday.

During that same time, the minimum central pressure of Patricia also decreased 100 millibars, from 980 millibars to 880 millibars.

This places Patricia among the most rapidly intensifying tropical cyclones ever witnessed anywhere in the world since the advent of modern meteorology.

Patricia weakened even faster than it strengthened; by 4 a.m. CDT Saturday, its central pressure had risen 106 millibars in 24 hours, from 880 to 986. Its maximum sustained winds had dropped to 65 mph, a loss of 135 mph from 24 hours earlier.

More from AOL.com:
Feds: Californians in flood areas should buy insurance now
Hurricane Patricia becomes strongest hurricane ever recorded
Dallas, Houston and Austin brace for life-threatening flooding

Read Full Story

People are Reading