Extreme Surface Wind Observations in Hurricane Patricia

Wednesday, 20 April 2016: 12:00 AM
Ponce de Leon B (The Condado Hilton Plaza)
Eric W. Uhlhorn, AIR-Worldwide, Boston, MA; and B. W. Klotz

On Oct. 23, 2015, Eastern Pacific Hurricane Patricia became the most intense tropical cyclone ever observed in the western hemisphere, both in terms of maximum sustained wind speed and minimum central pressure. Peak 700 mb flight level winds were as high as 105 m/s (205 kts), which was accompanied by a minimum pressure of 879 mb. At the same time, the Advanced Dvorak Technique –estimated intensity was nearly 180 kts when a pinhole eye was indicated on visible satellite imagery. Consistent with these observations, NOAA WP-3D Stepped Frequency Microwave Radiometer (SFMR) winds were as high as 178 kts, which is the highest known wind speed ever measured by SFMR. However, due to a number of quality control measures applied in real-time, a significant period of time elapsed with no reported SFMR winds as the P-3 traversed the eyewall, leading to questions about the validity of the retrieved surface wind speed data. This study will examine details of the measurements, including brightness temperatures, which are input to the retrieval algorithm. In addition, we will compare these data with past extreme SFMR surface wind events in Hurricane Felix of 2009 and Super Typhoon Megi of 2010.
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