Tropical Storm Lowell Forms South of Baja California

Tropical Storm Lowell formed south of Baja California on Monday.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Tropical Storm Lowell was located at latitude 17.4°N and longitude 113.6°W which put it about 450 miles (725 km) south-southwest of the southern tip of Baja California.  Lowell was moving toward the west-northwest at 16 m.p.h. (26 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1001 mb.

A scatterometer onboard a satellite detected winds to 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h) on the southeast side of former Tropical Depression Seventeen-E on Monday afternoon and the National Hurricane Center upgraded the system to Tropical Storm Lowell.  The circulation around Lowell was not well organized.  The strongest thunderstorms were occurring in bands in the southwestern quadrant of the tropical storm.  Bands in the other parts of Tropical Storm Lowell consisted primarily of showers and lower clouds.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out 85 miles (135 km) on the southern side of Lowell.  Winds on the northern side of the circulation were blowing at less than tropical storm force.

An upper level ridge over the Eastern North Pacific Ocean was producing northeasterly winds which were blowing toward the top of Tropical Storm Lowell.  Those winds were causing moderate vertical wind shear and they were responsible for the stronger thunderstorms being in the southwestern quadrant of Lowell.  The moderate upper level winds also appeared to be tilting the top part of Tropical Storm Lowell toward the southwest of the circulation at the surface.

Tropical Storm Lowell will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  So, there will be sufficient energy in the upper ocean to support intensification.  If the upper level winds weaken, then Lowell could intensify during the next several days.  However, if the upper level winds remain at their current speed, then it will be difficult for the tropical storm to become more organized.  The wind shear is forecast to decrease slowly, which would allow Tropical Storm Lowell to strengthen gradually.

Tropical Storm Lowell will move south of a subtropical high pressure system over the Eastern North Pacific Ocean.  The high is forecast to steer Lowell toward the west during the next few days.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Lowell will move farther away from Baja California.