Potential Tropical Cyclone Fourteen-E Prompts Hurricane Watch for Baja California

The National Hurricane Center is forecasting that a weather system currently designated as Potential Tropical Cyclone Fourteen-E will become a tropical storm and affect Baja California.  The government of Mexico has issued a Hurricane Watch and a Tropical Storm Warning for the portion of the coast from Todos Santo to Los Barriles including Cabo San Lucas.

At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Potential Tropical Cyclone Fourteen-E was located at latitude 17.2°N and longitude 107.2°W which put it about 430 miles (695 km) south-southeast of the southern tip of Baja California.  It was moving toward the northwest at 9 m.p.h. (15 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 30 m.p.h. (50 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1006 mb.

The circulation of Potential Tropical Cyclone Fourteen-E is in the early stages of organization.  There is a large counterclockwise circulation over the Eastern North Pacific Ocean west of Mexico.  Numerous showers and thunderstorms are forming within the circulation, but there is no well defined center of circulation.  There are fewer showers and thunderstorms in the eastern portion of the circulation.  An upper level ridge centered over Mexico is generating brisk easterly winds which are blowing over the top of the circulation.  Those winds are causing moderate vertical wind shear and the system has not yet begun to generate much upper level divergence.

Potential Tropical Cyclone Fourteen-E will move through an environment that will be somewhat favorable for intensification.  It will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  So, there is plenty of energy in the upper ocean to support intensification.  The strength of the upper level winds is forecast to diminish and the wind shear is likely to decrease.  If the wind shear decreases, then the environment will become more favorable for intensification.  Intensification is likely to be slow while the circulation becomes more organized and develops a distinct low level center.  Potential Tropical Cyclone Fourteen-E could become a tropical storm on Wednesday.  It has a chance to intensify to a hurricane on Thursday.

Potential Tropical Cyclone Fourteen-E is moving around the western end of a subtropical ridge.  The ridge is steering the system toward the northwest and a general northwesterly motion is expected to continue for another day or two.  On its anticipated track the center of Potential Tropical Cyclone Fourteen-E could approach the southern part of Baja California by late on Thursday.  It could be a strong tropical storm or a hurricane at that time.  Locally heavy rain falling on the steep terrain of Baja California always creates a risk for flash floods.