TD 6E Strengthens Into Tropical Storm Fernanda

Tropical Depression Six-E strengthened into Tropical Storm Fernanda on Wednesday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Tropical Storm Fernanda was located at latitude 11.9°N and longitude 113.1°W which put it about 790 miles (1270 km) south-southwest of the southern tip of Baja California.  Fernanda was moving toward the west at 9 m.p.h. (15 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.

Thunderstorms on the western side of the center of Tropical Storm Fernanda increased on Wednesday night.  Several bands of showers of thunderstorms formed in the western half of the circulation, but the distribution of convection remained asymmetrical.  There were few showers and thunderstorms in the eastern half of the circulation.  The thunderstorms in the western half of the were generating upper level divergence which was pumping out mass to the west of Tropical Storm Fernanda.

Tropical Storm Fernanda is currently in an environment that is moderately favorable for intensification.  It is moving over water where the Sea Surface Temperature (SST) is near 29.5°C.  An upper level ridge north of Fernanda is producing easterly winds which are blowing toward the top of the tropical storm.  Those winds are causing moderate vertical wind shear and the shear may be the cause of the asymmetrical distribution of thunderstorms.  Fernanda is likely to move into an area where the upper level winds are weaker and the shear will decrease.  Warm SSTs and less wind shear should allow Tropical Storm Fernanda to intensify into a hurricane later this week.  Once an eye forms, a period of rapid intensification will be possible and Fernanda could eventually become a major hurricane.

A subtropical ridge north of Fernanda is steering the tropical storm westward and a general westerly motion is expected to continue for the next few days.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Fernanda will move away from Mexico and it could move into the Central Pacific in a few days.