April 13, 2024

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Hurricane Otis produced a gust wind speed of 205 mph, among the most powerful hurricanes ever measured.

Weather station near Acapulco measurement Gusting winds of 205 mph, one of the highest ever observed in the world, Category 5 Otis made landfall last Wednesday as the strongest hurricane on record to hit Mexico’s west coast. The storm killed more than 40 people and caused catastrophic damage in and around Acapulco, with economic losses expected to reach $10 billion.

The wind gust reported by the National Tidal Service is preliminary, but if confirmed would rank among the 10 strongest wind gusts on record. Notice Globally. Meteorological agencies, such as the National Hurricane Center and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), typically confirm extreme observations through post-storm analysis.

The strongest winds recorded were 253 mph on Barrow Island in Australia during Tropical Cyclone Olivia on April 10, 1996. According to Data from the World Meteorological Organization. Before that, Mount Washington held the record for wind speeds of 231 mph on April 12, 1934. More recently, winds of 213 mph were measured on Orchid Island in Taiwan last month during Typhoon Quino.

High winds are often not recorded because such gusts can damage or destroy devices. However, in this case, the weather station operated by the National Tidal Service was “the only element that remained completely standing” near monitoring “Since the perimeter fence has completely disappeared,” the agency said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Otis surprised forecasters when the hurricane intensified at record speed, with winds jumping to 90 mph in just 12 hours, and 115 mph in 24 hours, before hitting Acapulco with maximum sustained winds of 165 mph. Most computer models only predicted Otis to become a Category 1 hurricane, which resulted in what meteorologists had predicted. described as a “nightmare scenario” when it unexpectedly turned into Category 5 before making landfall in a major population center.

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The death toll from the storm reached at least 46 people on Wednesday, while dozens remained missing. Acapulco and surrounding areas were still recovering from major power and communications outages, lack of public transportation, limited telephone service, and food and water shortages. About 274,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, about 120 hospitals and clinics were damaged, and about 600 hotels and residential complexes were affected.

Economic losses are expected to be in the billions. “The direct physical damage and net business interruption costs from Hurricane Otis will result in economic losses of at least $10 billion,” Steve Bowen, chief science officer at global reinsurance broker Gallagher Re, wrote in an email. “It will be one of the costliest natural disasters ever for Mexico.”

“A particular concern is that the majority of homeowners in Acapulco do not have insurance, and even a portion of commercial properties are also uninsured. This will mean that a significant portion of the damage is either uninsured or underinsured,” Bowen continued.

Verisk, a data analytics and technology company, estimates insured losses at between $3 billion and $6 billion, mostly due to high winds. “The Acapulco coast has many large apartments and apartment buildings as well as hotels. Many of these had the majority of their windows broken,” Verisk said in a press release.

“Roof damage was also observed in several buildings near the coast. Small commercial and residential buildings in Acapulco also saw significant damage, with cladding falling from walls, roofs torn off and debris scattered. Verisk noted that it expects Otis to become “one of the most expensive (if not the highest) events recorded in the Mexican insurance market.”

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Samantha Schmidt contributed to this report.