Hector Rapidly Intensifies Into a Hurricane

Former Tropical Storm Hector rapidly intensified a hurricane on Thursday morning.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Hurricane Hector was located at latitude 14.2°N and longitude 124.6°W which put it about 1135 miles (1825 km) west-southwest of the southern tip of Baja California.  Hector was moving toward the west at 14 m.p.h. (22 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 85 m.p.h. (135 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 987 mb.

The circulation of Hurricane Hector rapidly became more organized on Thursday morning.  A band of showers and thunderstorms wrapped tightly around the center of circulation.  A small eye appeared on satellite images at the center of Hurricane Hector.  A ring of strong thunderstorms surrounded the eye and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Several other bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of the hurricane.  Storms near the core were generating strong upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the hurricane.  The circulation of Hurricane Hector was relatively small.  Winds to hurricane force extended out about 20 miles (30 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 60 miles (95 km) from the center.

Hurricane Hector will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next several days.  Hector will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is between 27°C and 28°C.  An upper level ridge northeast of Hurricane Hector will produce easterly winds which will blow toward the top of the circulation.  However, the strongest easterly winds will be north of Hector and the vertical wind shear should not be too great over the hurricane.  Hurricane Hector is likely to continue to intensify and it could become a major hurricane.

Hurricane Hector will move south of the subtropical high pressure system over the Eastern North Pacific Ocean.  The subtropical high will steer Hector in a generally westerly direction during the next few days.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Hector will cross into the Central Pacific late in the weekend.  Hector could be southeast of Hawaii early next week.