The Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season always gets underway the week of May 15th. However, the last two years, we have seen a couple major hurricanes develop including this year as Hurricane Adolph was born on Friday, May 25th, 2001.
Becoming the first hurricane of the 2001 Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season, Adolph grew into a monstrous storm that threatened parts of the West Coast of Mexico and Baja California with winds of almost 150 mph. Since then, Adolph was moved away from land into much cooler waters, and has weakened, but not before it became the strongest storm ever during the month of May in the Eastern Pacific Basin.
This could be a sign of things to come in the Eastern Pacific this year as a mild El Nino event is forecast to develop this summer. El Nino occurs when sea surface temperatures are above normal in the Pacific, and causes an increase in hurricane activity in the Eastern Pacific Basin.
The month of May is not known for hurricane activity. That is because the Atlantic Hurricane Season doesn't get underway until June 1st, and the Eastern Pacific Season doesn't begin until May 15th. However, the last two seasons, the Eastern Pacific has gotten itself underway in a big way as Hurricane Aletta developed in May, 2000, and grew to a strong Category Three Hurricane before weakening, and now, Hurricane Adolph in 2001.
Adolph actually surpassed the strength records set by Aletta last year as it grew to a strong Category Four Hurricane with winds between 140 and 150 mph. As a result, Adolph became the most powerful hurricane on record during the month of May in the Eastern Pacific. Adolph was first observed as a depression on Friday, May 25th, 2001. The depression originated a few hundred miles south of Mexico in the Eastern Pacific near some of the Mexican resort areas such as Acapulco.
At that time, the depression contained heavy rains, and forecasters had warned Mexican residents of possible flooding and landslides along coastal regions. By Monday, Memorial Day here in the United States, Adolph had rapidly become a monster. With winds of 125 mph, it was already a Category Three Hurricane, and also had gusts of up to 150 mph.
The next day, Adolph strengthened even further as its winds neared 150 mph, not too far away from the Category Five threshold. At the same time, the storm became an increasing threat to the Mexican coast as it came within 165 miles south of the resort town of Acapulco. Hurricane Watches and Tropical Storm Warnings were issued along the Mexican coast from Acapulco to Lazardo Cardenas in the state of Michoaca.
Waves grew as high as 15 feet above normal, and stretched out some 110 miles from the center of Adolph. By Wednesday though, the threat from Adolph subsided as its winds died down to only Category Two strength at 110 mph, and it was moving away from land into the cooler waters of the Pacific.
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