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2B E3 USA TODAY—DEMOCRATANDCHRONICLE SATURDAY,OCTOBER24,2015 Hurricane Patricia is the world’s strongest hurricane or typhoon since at least 1970, when accurate satellite measurements of wind speeds began, according to data gathered by meteorologist and hurricane expert Phil Klotzbach of Colorado State University. Another expert, WeatherBell meteorologist Ryan Maue, said that storms prior to the satellite era can’t be accurately ranked because of the poor quality of the historical records. Hurricanes and typhoons are the same kind of storms, known collectively as tropical cyclones. Hurricanes form in the Atlantic and eastern Paciﬁc, while typhoons form in the western Paciﬁc Ocean. World’s top 5 strongest hurricanes and typhoons since 1970, based on sustained wind speeds: Patricia No. 1 on list of world’s strongest storms 1 HURRICANE PATRICIA EASTERN PACIFIC, 2015 Patricia reached a top wind speed of 201 mph on Oct. 23as the storm took aim at Mexico’s western coast. Catastrophic damage is expected. 2 TYPHOON HAIYAN WESTERN PACIFIC, 2013 Deadly and destructive Haiyan had winds of 195 mph as it s lammed into the Philippines in November 2013. It was the deadliest typhoon in recorded Philipp ine history, leaving more than 7,300 people dead or missing, primarily from its massive 15- to 1 9-foot storm surge that demolished and swept away everything in its path. 3 HURRICANE ALLEN A TLANTIC, 1980 With winds of 190 mph ,Allen remains the strongest storm ever ( as measured by wind speed) in the Atlantic basin. Although it weakened to a Category 3 as it m ade landfall in Texas, the storm killed more than 260 people in the Caribbean, U.S., and Mexico. 4 TYPHOON TIP WESTERN PACIFIC, 1979 Tip’s maximum wind speed was 189 mph on Oct. 12, 1979. The typhoon has the world record for lowest barometric pressure (25.69 inches) ever recorded in a tropical cyclone. (In addition to wind speeds, a storm’s intensity can a lso be measured by barometric pressure. The lower the number, the more powerful it is.) It’s also t he largest tropical cyclone on record (based on its diameter of 1,350 miles). After weakening to a C ategory 1 typhoon, the storm hit Japan, killing dozens of people in the resulting ﬂ oods. 5 HURRICANE WILMA A TLANTIC, 2005 The most recent major hurricane (Category 3 and higher) to strike the U.S., Wilma’s wind speeds t opped out at 184 mph in the Caribbean Sea on Oct. 19, 2005. W ith a barometric pressure of 26.05 inches, Wilma is the most intense storm on record in the W estern Hemisphere. Wilma killed 87 people in the Caribbean, Mexico, and U.S. Doyle Rice l USA TODAY HURRICANE PATRICIA BAGHDAD The U.S.-led coalition is revamping its training of Iraq’s security forces in an e ort to s peed up o ensives in Ramadi a nd other cities, where Iraqi sold iers have been slowed by sophisticated defenses built by Islamic State militants. “The training that was necessary for the ﬁght yesterday is not applicable to the ﬁght today,” said Col. Brian Payne, a coalition sta o cer. The training modiﬁcations are a recognition that o ensives in Ramadi and elsewhere have m oved slower than anticipated. Iraqi forces in Ramadi, a key Sunni city in western Iraq, have encountered belts of defenses with improvised explosives, berms and other obstacles. Iraqi forces have battled for several months in Ram adi but remain on the outskirts of the city center. The coalition trained and e quipped Iraqi forces to stop and neutralize each bomb individual- l y before moving forward, in keeping with tactics used to comb at guerrilla forces who plant random improvised explosives on r oads. Those tactics have not proved very e ective against the elabo- r ate defenses built by the Islamic S tate. The counterinsurgency tactics are “not conducive to rapid movement and assault,” Payne s aid. T he new training and weapons w ill be designed to get Iraq’s army to use explosives and artillery to blow a path through mineﬁelds, so mechanized forces can move quickly toward the enemy. That is more in line with conventional American armor tactics that emphasize speed and surprise. The change in training is driven by Army Lt. Gen. Sean M acFarland, an armor o cer who recently assumed command of the coalition task force here, s aid Col. Steve Warren, a military spokesman. In 2006 and 2007, M acFarland’s brigade helped foster a successful tribal revolt, c alled the Awakening, that drove insurgents out of Ramadi. D efense Secretary Ashton Carter praised him Friday as a “pioneer of the Sunni Awakening.” T he U.S.-led coalition plans to e quip Iraqi forces with “line charges,” explosive ropes attached to rocketsthat can ﬁ re the l ine charges several hundred feet. T he explosion clears a path wide e nough for vehicles. O cers hope the new tactics will generate momentum. “We’ve got to get ourselves prepared for the next thing going forward,” Payne said. Iraq’s military will face an even bigger challenge when it tries to recapture Mosul, Iraq’s second- largest city, which fell to militants m ore than a year ago. Iraq’s government has said Ramadi needs to be taken back before the a rmed forces can turn to Mosul. Unlike insurgents encountered i n Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, Islamic State militants a ttempt to hold and govern towns and cities they have captured. AHMAD AL-RUBAYE,AFP/GETTY IMAGES Iraqi Shiite ﬁghters, ﬁghting alongside Iraqi forces, ﬁre a rocket against Islamic State jihadists. Training of Iraqi troops revamped for ISIL threat Jim Michaels USA TODAY “The training that was necessary for the ﬁ ght yesterday is not applicable t o the ﬁght today.” Col. Brian Payne ,a U.S.-led coalition sta o cer WASHINGTON The Pentagon on Friday identiﬁed the ﬁrst U.S. soldier to be killed in the war on the Islamic State as Master Sgt. Joshu a Wheeler of Oklahoma, a Special Forces soldier who died in a raid to free 70 ISIL hostages. Wheeler, 39, was killed by small-arms ﬁre when his team of about 30 special operators went to the aid of Kurdish commandos who had been pinned down by Islamic State ﬁghters outside a makeshift prison in northern Iraq on Thursday. Wheeler is the ﬁrst soldier to die in combat in Iraq since 2 011, when U.S. forces w ithdrew after more than eight years of combat there. W heeler, of Roland, O kla., had been assigned t o the headquarters of U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C. Military o cials, who called the pre-dawn raid a success, said the hostages, including 22 Iraqi soldiers, faced imminent execution. U.S. special operators killed 15 ISIL ﬁghters, wounded and c aptured several more and retrieved a cache of intelligence m aterial. Kurdish regional government o cials requested American help in conducting the raid. Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters ferried U.S. and Kurdish forces to the walled compound. The Kurds a ttacked ﬁrst but were repulsed by “withering ﬁre” from the compound’s main building, said Army C ol. Steve Warren, a military spokesman in Baghdad. S everal Kurds were wounded. The U.S. special operators, w hose rules require them to stay behind cover unless threatened or to aid allies, took the initiative to clear the building, Warren said. He called their actions justiﬁed and appropriate. Wheeler was wounded in the ﬁreﬁght and died later after receiving medical treatment, according to the Pentagon. D elta Force soldiers were at the compound for an hour and 45 minutes, much of it spent rummaging and collecting intelligence materials, said a Defense Department o cial who was not authorized to speak publicly about details of the raid. The special operators left, and the compound was destroyed with bombs dropped by F-15 warplanes. In a statement Friday, t he top military comm ander in Iraq, Army. Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, praised Wheeler a nd the other soldiers inv olved in the raid. “ Yesterday, the United States of America lost one of her ﬁnest warriors doing what American troops do best — protecting those who cannot protect themselves. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and loved ones of this brave soldier,” MacFarland said. “ We are proud of the combined forces who conducted the miss ion to rescue these Iraqi hostages.” He also restated the Pentagon and White House position that American ground forces will not conduct regular missions in Iraq. “It is important to realize that U .S. military support to this Iraqi rescue operation is part of our overarching counter-terrorism e orts throughout the region and does not represent a change in o ur policy,” he said. “U.S. forces are not in Iraq on a c ombat mission and do not have boots on the ground.” Soldier who died in raid to free ISIL h ostages identiﬁed Kurds requested assistance in raid; U.S. combat death is ﬁrst in Iraq since 2011 Tom Vanden Brook USA TODAY U.S. ARMY Wheeler w ill be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse, according to the hurricane center. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months, and most of the area will be uninhabitable for that same period of time. At 5 p.m. ET, Hurricane Patricia was 60 miles west of Manzanillo, Mexico, moving to the north-northeast at 14 mph, the hurricane center said. The storm is expected to remain an extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane through landfall, the agency said. Atotal of 50,000 people were expected to be evacuated ahead of the storm, according to civil protection agencies in the three Mexican states of Colima, Jalisco, and Nayarit, Vallarta Daily reported. Those regions house the port city of Manzanillo and the town of Puerto Vallarta, a resort town with a large expatriate community from the U.S. and Canada. According to the 2010 census, there are more than 650,000 inhabitants in Colima state, more t han 161,000 in Manzanillo and m ore than 255,000 in the Puerto V allarta municipality. P resident Enrique Peña Nieto c anceled public events Friday to p ut attention on hurricane preparedness. “It will be the strongest hurricane that has impacted t he Paciﬁc in the last 50 years,” he said. Mexican o cials declared a state of emergency in dozens of coastal towns, including Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta, and ordered schools closed Friday, The Associated Press reported. The city of Puerto Vallarta established 18 shelter locations to house evacuees, and some businesses began boarding and taping up windows late Thursday. Puerto Vallarta and the neighboring Riviera Nayarit attract thousands of tourists throughout the year, but airlines suspended service with the storm approaching. The Jalisco state government scrambled a ﬂeet of 30 buses to take tourists from the coast to Guadalajara, a ﬁve-hour ride inland. Tapia said his o ce is coordinating with the national military, i ncluding air, sea and land units, t o clear tra c from all routes l eading to the waterfront region t o help evacuation e orts and all ow emergency tra c to enter it. H e said foreigners trying to locate their loved ones should work through their consulates in M exico. The U.S. Embassy issued a statement calling on Americans to monitor emergency advisories and stay away from the beaches. “As Hurricane Patricia moves inland, it will continue to produce heavy rainfall, wind and dangerous conditions,” the statement said. “Persons located inland in the path of Hurricane Patricia should take appropriate measures to ensure their safety, particularly those located in areas prone to ﬂooding or mudslides.” Patricia was expected to make landfall near an area of beach towns known as the Costa Alegre between Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta, where locals says there’s been an eerie calm. “It’s a beautiful morning in my neighborhood,” said Jane Gorby, aCalifornia native who has lived for 15 years in the town of La M anzanilla. She said the severity o f the pending storm snuck up on r esidents and left them scram- b ling for a potentially unprece- d ented event. “ People were complacent, but there’s never been a storm like this before,” Gorby said. G orby, like most residents, planned to ride out the storm in La Manzanilla, last hit hard by Hurricane Jova in 2011. “I have tequila. I have cat food. I have things to calm my nerves,” she said. “I don’t know how you prepare for something like this.” As the day progressed, however, stories of panic-buying emerged in coastal regions with store shelves left bare. Rice reported from McLean, Va. Contributing: Doug Stanglin in McLean, Va. RESIDENTS, TOURISTS SEEK S AFETY, EMPTY STORES v CONTINUED FROM1B HECTOR GUERRERO,AFP/GETTY IMAGES Residents of Boca de Pascuales, Colima State, Mexico, prepared Thursday to be evacuated before the arrival of Patricia.