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In a catastrophic turn of events, the Pacific coast of Mexico bore witness to the fury of Hurricane Lidia, described by meteorologists as “extremely dangerous.” This formidable natural disaster struck with unrelenting force, initially gaining Category 4 status with wind speeds reaching 140 miles per hour (220 kilometers per hour). This tempestuous tempest, however, began to lose some of its might as it ventured further inland, ultimately being downgraded to Category 2 by the US National Hurricane Center (NHC). While the storm may have weakened, its impact remains profound, with one tragic casualty reported.
The state of Nayarit faced the sad reality of Lidia’s wrath when a tree came crashing down onto a van, taking the life of one unfortunate individual. This heart-wrenching incident serves as a grim reminder of the dangerous nature of hurricanes.
Hurricane Lidia made its ominous landfall near the serene beach town of Las Penitas, striking just before 18:00 local time (00:00 GMT). This powerful hurricane began its rampage as a Category 4 hurricane, a classification on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale that ranges from one to five, five being the most destructive.
By 21:00 (03:00 GMT), the NHC disclosed that Lidia had weakened slightly, with maximum sustained winds now reaching 105 mph (165 km/h) as it traversed close to the inland town of Mascota in Jalisco state. The hurricane was determinedly moving east-northeast at a rate of 17 mph (28 km/h), poised to diminish in strength as it encountered elevated terrain in west-central Mexico.
However, it is crucial to note that the danger persists with Hurricane Lidia, as the NHC issued a grave warning of “life-threatening hurricane-force winds along the storm’s path overnight.” Alongside the menacing winds, coastal regions were advised to brace for dangerous water levels, flash flooding, and hazardous swells on the Pacific coast.
Before the hurricane’s arrival, Mexico’s President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, declared the deployment of 6,000 armed forces personnel to assist and support residents in the affected areas. In a heartfelt plea via the social media platform X, formerly Twitter, he urged residents living between Nayarit and Jalisco, especially those in Bahia de Banderas, Puerto Vallarta, and Tomatlan, to exercise extreme caution. He recommended people avoid low-lying regions, rivers, and slopes to minimize potential hazards.
In the tranquil coastal haven of Puerto Vallarta, residents took refuge, preparing for the relentless Hurricane Lidia by securing their premises with boarded windows and stockpiling sandbags as a preemptive measure against flooding. In anticipation of Hurricane Lidia’s destructive force, the city’s airport announced a temporary shutdown from 16:00 local time (22:00 GMT) until 08:00 the following day.
The Mexican Pacific coastline had experienced significant flooding earlier in the week, courtesy of Tropical Storm Max. Tragically, local reports indicated that two lives were claimed due to the storm in Guerrero.
Unfortunately, hurricanes occur annually in Mexico, affecting Pacific and Atlantic coasts. The official hurricane season in the country spans from May to November, with most storms typically forming between July and October.
While the precise influence of climate change on the frequency and intensity of hurricanes remains a subject of ongoing research, scientists have posited that elevated sea surface temperatures warm the air above, providing hurricanes with additional energy. Consequently, this could lead to more intense storms and extreme rainfall.
It is essential to recognize that our world has already warmed by approximately 1.1 degrees Celsius since the onset of the industrial era. This alarming trend in rising temperatures is poised to persist unless governments worldwide take urgent and substantial measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.