Hurricane Sergio Turns Back Toward Baja California

Hurricane Sergio turned back toward Baja California on Tuesday morning.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Hurricane Sergio was located at latitude 16.6°N and longitude 127.4°W which put it about 1215 miles (1960 km) west-southwest of the southern tip of Baja California.  Sergio was moving toward the northeast at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 95 m.p.h. (155 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 982 mb.

Hurricane Sergio was slowly weakening.  It appeared that cooler, drier air was entering the western half of the circulation.  Sergio has been moving slowly and its winds may have mixed some cooler water to the surface of the ocean.  Rainbands on the western side of Sergio consisted primarily of showers and lower clouds and thunderstorms in western side of the eyewall were weakening.  Stronger thunderstorms were still occurring in the eastern side of the eyewall and that was where the strongest winds were occurring.  Some strong storms were also occurring in a band southeast of the center of circulation.

Hurricane Sergio will move through an environment that will cause it to continue to weaken slowly.  Sergio is currently over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 27°C, but it will move over cooler water in a day or so.  An upper level trough centered west of California will produce southwesterly winds which will cause more vertical wind shear.  The combination of cooler water and more wind shear will cause Hurricane Sergio to weaken to a tropical storm within the next 24 to 36 hours.

The upper level trough will steer Hurricane Sergio toward the northeast during the next several days.  On its anticipated track Sergio could approach central Baja California on Thursday night.  It will likely be a tropical storm at that time.  Tropical Storm Watches could be issued for parts of the coast later today or on Wednesday.  Sergio will bring gusty winds and it will drop locally heavy rain.  The rain could cause flash flooding.  Sergio could also bring some rain to New Mexico and west Texas during the weekend.