How Did Hurricane Patricia Grow Into the Strongest Storm Ever?

by Robert Ferris /  / Updated 

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If you think the strongest hurricane ever recorded appeared all of a sudden and out of nowhere, you're in good company.

Hurricane Patricia has intensified over the last 24 hours, and data from Air Force planes have measured record-breaking sustained wind speeds of about 175 knots (over 200 miles per hour), and gusts of up to 247 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center. Those numbers make Patricia the strongest storm ever measured on the planet in the history of record keeping.

The storm's rapid intensification has shocked researchers and confounded models. So how did Patricia get so intense, so suddenly?

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