NASANOAA‘s Suomi NPP satellite passed over Patricia early this morning and captured this image of the infrared emissions of the storm. (credit: NRL/NASA/NOAA)

The US‘ National Hurricane Center this morning declared that Hurricane Patricia has become the most powerful storm it has ever tracked, with winds exceeding 325 kilometers an hour (200mph). It is forecast to reach the coast of Mexico later today, with an impact that the NHC is calling “potentially catastrophic.”

(The NHC is responsible for the entire North Atlantic, as well as the Eastern Pacific, so it has tracked a large number of storms.)

As of this morning, the hurricane was off the west coast of Mexico, heading north-northeast towards land. It’s expected that the eye will reach land as a Category 5 storm somewhere between Puerto Vallarta and Ixtapa some time this afternoon.

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