Hurricane Patricia, which struck southern Mexico over the weekend made landfall so quickly that it declined within hours into a tropical storm, then broke up into disorganized cells. Patricia was the most powerful hurricane ever recorded. However, the speed with which it came ashore in a relatively arid area meant that its vertical circulation was impeded, and what could have been a great disaster became an event involving flooding and minor wind damage.

Farther north in Texas, an extension of the storm complex dumped as much as 20 inches of rain east of Dallas, but for the most part the state experienced a rainfall 4 to 6 inches, which is resulting in a significant increase in water levels in reservoirs and aquifers.

This does not mean that the danger of storms like Sandy, Katrina and Patricia has been lessened. because if a storm evolves in the way they did, it still has the potential to become extremely dangerous. Unknowncountry’s Climate Watch has been warning about the danger of sudden increases in storm energy, which take place when cloud tops penetrate into the upper reaches of the stratosphere. The suddeness and extreme nature of the change is due to the fact that the lower parts of the stratosphere have been warming, while its upper portion has remained extremely cold. If Patricia had moved onshore more slowly, it would have been a devastating storm event.