2015 Hurricane Patricia

2015 Hurricane Patricia

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2015 Hurricane Patricia was a major tropical cyclone that impacted central and western Mexico in late October 2015. Rated as the most intense tropical cyclone on record in the Western hemisphere in terms of barometric pressure and sustained wind ratings, the weather event generated a massive flurry of discussions in the social media during the days leading up to its landfall on October 23rd.


The storm disturbance began its formation off the southern Pacific-Mexico coast near the Gulf of Tehuantepec on October 14th, 2015. As the storm made its way up the Mexican coast, it became classified as a "tropical depression" on October 20th, and as it approached landfall near the Western-Central Mexican coast, the depression climbed to the status of a "tropical storm" on October 22nd. In the following 24 hours, the status of the storm had escalated into a Category 5 hurricane.[1] The intensity of the storm was regarded to be greater than any other Eastern Pacific hurricane observed on record since the 1960s[2], with the speed of gusting winds measured at over 200 miles per hour (330 km/h).


Notable Developments

International Space Station's Aerial Photo

On the morning of October 23rd, American astronaut Scott Kelly tweeted a picture of Hurricane Patricia as seen from aboard the International Space Station.[3] Within 12 hours of the tweet, the aerial photograph garnered more than 31,500 retweets and over 19,100 favorites. The picture was subsequently picked up by multiple news sites and reached the trending status on Facebook.[4]

On Twitter

Between October 21st and October 23rd, the hashtags #Patricia and #HurricanePatricia were mentioned more than 316,000 times and 96,000 times, respectively, according to the Twitter analytics service Topsy.[5]

On Reddit

On October 23rd, various news stories about the hurricane began to gain traction on the social news aggregation site Reddit. That same day, the /r/HurricanePatricia subreddit and a live news feed were launched to keep track of the latest developments[6][7] in real time, the latter of which drew an average of 1,500 readers. Meanwhile, several discussion threads from different subreddits made their way to the front page of the site, including the /r/worldnews post titled "Hurricane Patricia is now measured to be the strongest Hurricane we have ever seen"[8] and an AMA (Ask Me Anything) thread on /r/science,[9] which garnered more than 6,000 upvotes and 4,000 upvotes respectively within the first 12 hours.

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