Mexicans holding their breath for Rick.
Our friends down South are closely following Hurricane Rick off the west coast of Mexico. We’ve been watching this storm develop over the course of the past few days and as expected, it strengthened–a lot. Atmospheric conditions were seemingly perfect for the development of this tropical system: warm sea surface temperatures, very little wind shear, etc. This allowed the hurricane to reach an impressive Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale. This beast was sporting maximum sustained winds of over 180 mph at its peak and wind gusts over 200 mph. Fortunately, it has remained off the coast and the hurricane force winds haven’t been impacting the Mexican coastline, but this storm is projected to take a sharp right turn into Baja California. The estimate landfall time is 5 AM Wednesday. The eye was centered about 500 miles south-southeast of Cabo San Lucas as of 10 this morning (Central Time).
So is Mexico going to see this hurricane make landfall as a Category 5? The answer is no. This hurricane will encounter less favorable atmospheric conditions, which will help to weaken Rick to a Category 2. This doesn’t mean that it isn’t a dangerous storm system though. While it would be more devastating to see a Category 5 hurricane make landfall, Category 2 hurricanes can easily cause millions of dollars in destruction. The main concerns will be flooding and also the dangerous swell. There were reports that the storm generated 50 ft waves near the center.
This is the strongest eastern North Pacific storm in more than a decade. In September of 1977, Hurricane Linda developed and still reigns supreme as the strongest hurricane in the area with maximum sustained wind speeds of 185 mph.