Ads are being blocked

For us to continue writing great stories, we need to display ads.

Un-block Learn more


Please select the extension that is blocking ads.

Ad Block Plus Ghostery uBlock Other Blockers

Please follow the steps below

An Intimidating Space View of the Misery-Sowing Hurricane Manuel

Looting, death, and a loose crocodile: Thanks to this Pacific tempest, life in Acapulco is not so sweet right now.

Thanks to an ogre of a storm that tore into Mexico on Thursday morning, life is not so sweet in coastal-Pacific cities. The news is rife with terrible things happening in Acapulco, in particular: widespread looting, thousands stranded, up to 80 dead, and CNN notes that on top of that, there's "even a crocodile" on the loose.

That last item would seem to be the least of the problems weighing down the minds of Mexico's citizens. With Hurricane Manuel having lessened yesterday into a tropical depression, damage assessment and clean-up duty is now beginning. That will be a slog for the harder-hit areas, such as the village La Pintada a couple hours out of Acapulco. Inundating rains loosened soil and rocks on a nearby mountain and sent it all cascading down upon the locals; as of last night nearly 60 people were still missing.

The moment that the Category 1 Hurricane Manuel made landfall was preserved for posterity by the Suomi NPP satellite, whose ultra-sensitive instruments picked out the terrible swirls and wrinkles of this massive spinner. Here is the storm early Thursday as it prepared to move inland near Topolobampo, several hundred miles northwest of Acapulco (that explosion of city light at top right is Houston):

Since the time of this photo, Mexico's terrain has torn Manuel into tatters. This is the once-powerful tempest on Thursday evening as observed by NOAA's GOES-15 satellite:

Top image courtesy of NOAA

About the Author

  • John Metcalfe
    John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.