Hurricane Patricia Could Devastate Mexico for Decades

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I’m neither a weather blogger nor a natural disaster blogger, but holy cow: Hurricane Patricia is set to absolutely devastate Mexico in a few hours. Brad Plumer provides the basics:

The storm’s current size is shocking. Just 30 hours ago, Patricia was an ordinary hurricane with maximum winds of 60 miles per hour. Since then, Patricia has grown into a monster Category 5 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds nearing 200 miles per hour. The current storm appears to be unprecedented in the historical record.

Naturally, Drudge is going nuts, and with good reason. Plumer directs us to a study of long-term hurricane damage to a region’s economy, and Patricia could be unbelievably destructive:

According to the table on the left, a big hurricane can decrease income by 14.9 percent 20 years later. But there’s also this: “The largest event in our sample (78.3 m/s) is estimated to have reduced long-run GDP by 29.8%.” Patricia is currently running at about 90 meters per second. If it stays this powerful, the chart on the right suggests it could kill thousands and reduce the GDP of the Mexican coast west of Mexico City by 30-40 percent for decades.

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