In the Pacific Ocean off the Mexican coast, Hurricane Aletta has intensified to become the first major hurricane this season in the western hemisphere as of Thursday, and putting Mexico on alert. There is no forecast of direct impact on land, but a second area of low pressure has been noted and will likely develop into a named storm with an as-of-yet unpredictable path.
In under 24 hours, Aletta developed from a tropical storm and into a category 3 hurricane, with an eye 20 miles in diameter, and could continue to intensify. A high pressure are is steering Aletta away from the coast in a west-northwest direction further into the Pacific over the next couple days.
The low pressure area is currently a tropical wave (defined as an atmospheric trough of low pressure moving east or west from the tropics causing areas of cloudiness and thunderstorms) but is given high odds to develop into a tropical storm by the end of this weekend and will be given the name “Bud”. Again, it’s unknown whether or not “Bud” would make landfall, but it is developing to the east of Hurricane Aletta.
Even if the centers of these storms remain off shore, there will be peripheral impacts to the coast such as heavy rainfall, high surfs, rip currents, breaking waves, and flash floods. This spells out danger to residents along the Mexican coast for the next week or so. It’s imperative to take precautions against the effects of these storms to protect life and home.
It’s also important to note that it is not an unusual occurrence for the Eastern Pacific to experience a major (category 3 or higher) hurricane so early in the season; it’s happened three times in this decade alone, and 9 times since the 1970’s, according to the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). In 2015, category 4 Hurricane Andres (May 28-June 4) was immediately followed by category 4 Hurricane Blanca (May 31-June 9). The average hurricane season for the Atlantic Basin is from June 1 to November 30, with the peak from mid-August to late October, making both Andres and Blanca a few days early. But as we all know, Mother Nature doesn’t always follow the calendar.
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