Powerful Hurricane Just Off West Mexico

Hurricane Hilary Wakes Up Things In Eastern Pacific

It has been a sluggish hurricane season in the Eastern Pacific.  The shift to neutral conditions in the wake of La Nina have shifted back towards a newer and weaker La Nina episode.  As a result, we still have cooler than normal sea surface temperatures in the EPAC, and that has thwarted tropical development.

Up until this week, there have only been eight depressions and seven named storms in the Eastern Pacific.  However, there have been more hurricanes and major hurricanes than in the Atlantic.  While the Atlantic Basin has had 16 depressions and 15 named storms, there have been only three hurricanes and two major hurricanes.  No storm has been stronger than a minimal Category Four Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.

Meanwhile, the Eastern Pacific has had seven hurricanes and four major hurricanes.  Of those four major storms, each has become a Category Four system.  Hurricane Hilary is the latest of the major hurricanes in the Eastern Pacific.  After a hiatus of a little more than a month, the tropics picked up again in the Eastern Pacific, Hilary emerged on Wednesday off the Southwestern coast of Mexico.  Since then, the storm has become a small, but very powerful storm.

Hilary, which has hurricane force winds extending some 25 miles from the eye, and tropical storm force winds reach some 85 miles from the center, now has maximum sustained winds of 145 miles per hour with gusts up to 175 miles per hour.  Minimum central pressure is down to 944 millibars, or 27.88 inches of Hg.  The powerful system is located some 135 miles south of Lazaro Cardenas in Mexico.

The latest forecast discussion from the NHC, indicates that Hilary should continue to strengthen over the next 12 hours, and maintain Category Four intensity through 48 hours, and major hurricane strength up to 96 hours.  The projected consensus track calls for Hilary to stay off the Mexican West Coast, but possibly recurve into Baja California beyond five days.