Why hurricane Patricia did less damage than expected?

When meteorologists and experts were cranking the sirens over the arrival of Hurricane Patricia on the western coast of Mexico, most had in mind the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. In that case, unfortunately, over 6,300 people were killed.  UN had previously made this comparison taking into consideration any possible risks and the initial magnitude.

Fear of an historical magnitude hurricane –category 5 in the Saffir-Simpson scale- was plausible. Thankfully, hurricane Patricia did less damage than expected, but nobody was able to foresee that with all metrics that is was going to go the other way around.

Therefore, most attention should be paid to the analysis of this particular phenomenon, because it could become extremely useful for planning other similar emergency situations.

If hurricane Patricia caused less damage it was due to warning and evacuation systems, but, above all, it had to do with natural elements and geographic and random factors.

The warning and evacuation system worked reasonably well. Notwithstanding, it must be pointed out, that this might have happened because initially there was a category 5 hurricane expected that turn out to be a tropical storm.

Thankfully, hurricane Patricia landed in a non-populated area and not within the industrial and productive strategic area of Port of Manzanillo or within Puerto Vallarta touristic zone. The outcome would have been absolutely different if this would had taken place.

On the other hand, the hurricane became a tropical storm in less than ten hours, considered an historical event by the US National Hurricane Center, based in Miami, Florida. The unexpected role played in this case by the western Sierra Madre mountains as a natural barrier turned out to be determinant, as the Círculo Volcánico Transmexicano and the researcher from the University of Guadalajara, Ángel Meulenert, suggest.

Even though, we live in the XXI st century, and we rely upon a high degree of technological development, we still depend on random and nature factors when it comes to global disaster relief.

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Five tips

 Although Hurricane Patricia could be considered the hurricane that never came to life as expected, there shall be five steps taken within global disaster relief, striving to enable quicker and better response during crisis and catastrophes in a more effective, sustainable and cost-efficient way.

  1. Floods: A water evacuation support net should be ready, always according to the amount of water expected in case of use.
  1. Water, power and communications supply must be shut down: There shall be backup systems, as electric generators and water tanks, in order to guarantee supply.
  1. Landslide: A relief road scheme must be planned after analyzing all risks and coming up with contention engineering solutions. By doing so, road blocking will be avoided and, under critical circumstances, towns and cities will not get isolated.
  2. Damage proof and destruction proof buildings:  anti-earthquake and anti-hurricane measures must be implemented always taking into consideration the risks.
  1. River and coast line overflowing: Architectural contention and protection barriers must be design in order to prevent the risks of severe climatology effects. The measures must also provide added value to the areas where these schemes are implemented. They must also contribute to social and economic development within the established natural catastrophe high risk areas. On the other hand, river areas must count with specific disaster relief and support against overflowing as a consequence of severe torrential rainfall produced by hurricanes or typhoons.

If all risks are taken into consideration as well as relief schemes the action of Nature might be mitigated and by doing so securing population from natural catastrophes.

Planning, under resilience patterns, becomes essential for not leaving any aspects to random variables.  It might appear more expensive in the beginning, but it is cheaper compared to material and reconstruction costs. Any cost will always be more reasonable than the human life lost.

EARTH AT NIGHT 2050 Christian Manrique

This video shows how city lights will increase and will spread by 2050 in differents areas of the world: India, China, United States of America, Nigeria, Indonesia, Pakistan, Brazil, Bangladesh, Dem. Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Mexico, Egypt and the Philippines


Technology and environment

Geographic areas and its competitive core: Africa, Middle East, Europe, Russia, China, India, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines and Australia.


Africa will become the area with the highest population ratio. Of the total global growth of 2.4 billion people between 2015 and 2050, 1.3 billion people will belong to Africa. Thus, growing from 1.8 billion in 2015 to over 2.4 billion by 2050.

In Sub-saharan Africa, water treatment and supply (especially in the center and western parts of the region), mini hydro (East) and Solar photovoltaic power are at the top of development opportunities. All this with the support of power lines and having on account that the area can take advantage of the evolution of communication nets.

Within big cities one of the most relevant issues will be solid waste management and in the North of Africa water treatment and supply, solar photovoltaic power, and solar thermoelectric power will be key issues.

Middle East

Water supply and treatment, as well as solar photovoltaic power generation systems and CSP or thermoelectric solar power are key points.


Europe has a population of 738 million people and by 2050 it will cut down to 707 million people.

Europe’s future depends on high investment on technology and knowledge. Through manpower and R&D investment, Europe should launch a new industrial revolution to create markets, specifically supplying the increasing demands of services and high added value products, for citizenship as well as enterprises, pursuing quality life improvement.

Within the power and basic supply services areas intelligent services nets should be installed, as well as efficiency systems and power control systems.

Transportation infrastructures should head towards power mobility (buses, cars, trains and ships). Within this field, producing on time information for transportation as well as logistics should be a clear advantage. The path should head towards online infrastructures systems.

Industry still has got a long run for Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) standards.


Russia has reached a population of 143 million inhabitants and It will decrease to 128 million people.

Water, waste water treatment, hydric power through mini hydro plants as well as treatment and solid waste power value will be a clear development asset in the area.


China, with a population of over 1.3 billion people, will rise by 2030 to decrease again to 1.3 billion by 2050.

Massive amounts of population on the coast side is one of the main issues it has to deal with, although it has started to attract population inland, where its main development possibilities are wind and Solar power.

Besides, China needs urgently to low its high pollution levels (which empowers electric vehicle regular implementation) and to rationalize its power consumption. This issue opens a field for power efficiency.


Its current population has reached just 1.3 billion inhabitants. It’s estimated that it will reach 1.7 billion by 2050, overpassing China.

Nowadays, millions of people cannot have access to basic supply, power demand is growing and the need for cutting down pollution emissions is higher.

Wind energy, Photovoltaic Solar energy and CSP, water as well as water and solid waste treatment, have become significant elements.

Food industry could be implemented strongly in the country in coming years.

Rest of Asia

Japan, currently with a population of 126 million people, will decrease by 2050 do 107. Its potential lays on solar power development and the implementation of Cyber Physic Systems for industries.

Indonesia has got a current population of 257 million people and it will reach 322 million. The Philippines will grow from 100 million to 148.

Geothermal plants (especially in Indonesia and the Philippines) water treatment, mini hydro plants and water supply systems can acquire great relevance in the area.


Australia has a population of 24 million people and it is estimated that it will reach 33 million inhabitants by 2050.

To be able to overpass the current commodities low prize situation Australia should look after technological development to implement it through infrastructures (digital infrastructures), intelligent systems (power and water supply management), as well as power efficiency.

Resilient actions are needed in cities and infrastructures in order to face climate change and natural disasters that bring floods and droughts.

Population data was extracted from UNPD site.