Tropical Storm Beatriz Brings Heavy Rain to Southern Mexico

Tropical Depression Two-E intensified into Tropical Storm Beatriz on Thursday and Beatriz brought heavy rain to parts of southern Mexico.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Tropical Storm Beatriz was located at latitude 15.5°N and longitude 96.8°W which put it about 25 miles (40 km) southwest of Puerto Angel, Mexico.  Beatriz was moving toward the north-northeast at 5 m.p.h. (8 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 1004 mb.  A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Salina Cruz to Puerto Escondido.

Tropical Depression Two-E intensified into Tropical Storm Beatriz on Thursday even though its structure evolved into a more asymmetrical system.  Tropical Storm Beatriz appeared to consist of a larger low pressure system which was centered just off the coast of Mexico.  The weather radar from Puerto Angel confirmed that the center of circulation was still offshore.  There were several smaller (mesoscale) counterclockwise rotating circulations that were revolving around the center of the larger low.  At least one of the smaller circulations was already over southern Mexico.  Many of the thunderstorms were occurring in a broad band that wrapped around the eastern and northern portions of the larger low pressure system.  The strongest winds were occurring within this primary rainband.  There were far fewer thunderstorms in the western half of the circulation.  It seemed that after air descended from mountains in Mexico then the air was drawn into the western side of Tropical Storm Beatriz.  The warmer drier air was inhibiting the formation of thunderstorms in the western half of Beatriz.

Although Tropical Storm Beatriz is over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C, other environmental factors are unfavorable for intensification.  The proximity to land and the apparent ingestion of drier air are both negative factors.  A narrow upper level ridge oriented from the south-southwest to the north-northeast and a upper level trough to the west of Beatriz are producing brisk southerly winds that are blowing toward the top of the circulation.  Those upper level winds are causing moderate vertical wind shear.  Therefore, Tropical Storm Beatriz is unlike to intensify further during the next several days.

The future track of Tropical Storm Beatriz is uncertain.  If the circulation of Beatriz remains intact then the upper level trough and upper level ridge are likely to steer it toward the north-northeast.  Tropical Storm Beatriz would dissipate over the mountains of Mexico if that scenario occurs.  If the upper level winds are strong enough, the vertical shear could detach the upper portion of the circulation from the low level circulation.  That scenario sometimes occurs when slow moving storms approach the south coast of Mexico.  If that happens, the upper half of the circulation could be transported across Mexico and move over the southern Gulf of Mexico.  Some models are suggesting that a new surface low could form over the southern Gulf in several days, but the wind shear would have to decrease in order for that to occur.  The lower level circulation could be left behind near the coast of Mexico where it would drift slowly near the coast.

Tropical Storm Beatriz is bringing heavy rains to parts of southern Mexico and the heavy rain will continue to fall on Friday.  Locally heavy rain in the more mountainous portions of Oaxaca could create the potential for dangerous flash floods.