Aletta Strengthens Into a Hurricane

Former Tropical Storm Aletta strengthened into a hurricane on Thursday.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Hurricane Aletta was located at latitude 15.3°N and longitude 110.0°W which put it about 455 miles (730 km) west-southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico.  Aletta was moving toward the west-northwest at 6 m.p.h. (10 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 90 m.p.h. (145 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 987 mb.

A circular eye developed at the center of Hurricane Aletta on Thursday afternoon.  The inner ends of several rainbands wrapped part of the way around the eye and a broken ring of thunderstorms surrounded the eye.  The strongest winds were occurring in the broken ring of storms.  Several other bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Hurricane Aletta.  Storm near the core were generating strong upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the hurricane.  Winds to hurricane force extended out about 25 miles (40 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 90 miles (150 km) from the center.

Hurricane Aletta will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 24 to 36 hours.  Aletta will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  It will move through an area where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Hurricane Aletta is likely to strengthen during the next day or two and it could intensify rapidly if the ring of storms completely encircles the eye.

Hurricane Aletta is moving southwest of a ridge over Mexico which is steering the hurricane toward the west-northwest.  Aletta could move a little more toward the northwest when it reaches the western end of the ridge.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Aletta will move farther away from the west coast of Mexico.