Storms threaten Mexico

  • Forecast track of Hurricane Irwin. Source: NOAA.

    Forecast track of Tropical Storm Jova. Source: NOAA.

    Enhanced infrared satellite imagery of the eastern Pacific depicting Hurricane Irwin (left) and Tropical Storm Jova (right) near the 15 degree line of latitude. Source: NOAA

  • Storms threaten Mexico
    08.10.2011 14:35

    Mexico could soon face two tropical cyclone strikes as Hurricane Irwin and Tropical storm Jova loom over the eastern Pacific. The storms, spawned near the same latitude on Thursday from an area of thunderstorms, could both make landfall along a similar stretch of the country’s west coast during next week.

    Tropical Storm Jova, the ninth named system of the east Pacific season, is currently centred over 400 miles west-south-west of the tourist resort Manzanillo. Jova has already undergone a period of rapid intensification and is forecast to strengthen further over the coming days as an upper level trough steers the system north-east. The storm is likely to attain hurricane strength late Saturday and could make landfall as a category 2 system near Manzanillo on Tuesday, with sustained winds of 110mph. However, no watches or warnings have yet been issued for the Mexican coast.

    Following behind Jova will be Irwin. Located further west than Jova, Irwin has already attained category 1 hurricane status and is projected to accelerate east north-eastwards towards the Mexican coast through the weekend and into next week. Some weakening is forecast as Irwin encounters lower sea surface temperatures and increasing vertical wind shear, conditions unfavourable for growth. Despite the predicted weakening, models show the system could still threaten land as a tropical storm, potentially coming ashore close to Jova’s point of landfall during the middle part of next week. Should the systems strike the same region, their combined rainfall will lead to a significant flood risk.

    Western Mexico has already experienced disruption from several other systems this year. At least three people were killed as Hurricane Beatriz brushed Acapulco in June, while swells and heavy rains from hurricanes Dora and Hillary also caused some flooding and coastal damage.

    NOAA’s Climate Prediction centre forecast a 70% chance of a below average hurricane season in the east Pacific, with 9 to 15 named storms.

    By: Billy Payne