Tropics Heating Up in Eastern Pacific
Hurricane season doesn’t officially begin until Monday, but the tropics are already plenty active in the eastern Pacific Ocean, with one hurricane already churning and another named storm likely just hours away from forming.
Hurricane Andres became the first named storm and hurricane in the eastern Pacific Ocean basin earlier this week, and on Sunday afternoon, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) upgraded the storm to a Major Hurricane, or one with Category 3-or-greater status. Andres’ peak sustained winds, as of 2pm PDT on Sunday, were bumped up to 125 miles-per-hour, making it a potent Category 3 storm.
Andres, fortunately, is no threat to land. The storm is moving northwestward and is expected to begin a gradual weakening process by Monday as it moves into cooler Pacific waters, where it will almost assuredly die a slow death hundreds of miles from any landmass.
The storm on Andres’ heels, however, could be of greater impact. While not yet officially a tropical depression or a named storm, the NHC put a 90 percent probability of a storm about 400 miles southwest of Acapulco, Mexico of strengthening into a tropical depression in the next five days. If it develops as expected, it will become Tropical Storm Blanca, and while it’s still several days away from moving in this direction, the models appear to bring this system closer to shore, perhaps impacting the Baja California peninsula of Mexico this weekend or next week. Again, this forecast will likely be fine-tuned, but there is the possibility that a potential Blanca could impact western Mexico and eventually the southwest U.S. in the next 7-10 days.
Hurricane season formally runs from June 1st through November 30th in the Atlantic basin, but it starts on May 15th in the Pacific. The eastern Pacific is expected to be especially active, largely in part due to warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific caused by El Nino, and it certainly appears to be off to a fast start.
Stay with WeatherNation and www.WeatherNationTV.com throughout hurricane season for all the latest.
Meteorologist Chris Bianchi