Tropical Storm Xavier Causes Warning for Coast of Mexico

Potential impacts of Tropical Storm Xavier caused the government of Mexico to issue a Tropical Storm Warning for a portion of the coast.  The Tropical Storm Warning was in effect from Punta San Telmo to Playa Perula, Mexico.  At 1:00 p.m. EST the center of Tropical Storm Xavier was located at latitude 17.8°N and longitude 105.4°W which put it about 110 miles (175 km) southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico.  Xavier was moving toward the north at 6 m.p.h. (10 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1003 mb.

An upper level trough is producing strong southwesterly winds which are blowing toward the top of Tropical Storm Xavier.  Those winds are causing significant vertical wind shear and they blew the upper portion of Xavier northeast of the lower level circulation earlier on Sunday morning.  However, new thunderstorms formed around the center of circulation and in a rainband northeast of the center.  There are several bands of showers and thunderstorms west of the center of circulation.  The bands southeast of the center consist primarily of low clouds and showers.  The strongest winds are occurring in the northeast portion of Tropical Storm Xavier.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 80 miles (130 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds are blowing to tropical storm force near the coast of Mexico which is why the Tropical Storm Warning was issued.

The future intensity of Tropical Storm Xavier will be determined by the strength of the upper level winds.  Xavier will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  So, there is plenty of energy in the upper ocean to support a tropical storm.  However, the upper level winds were almost strong enough to shear Xavier apart on Sunday morning.  If the upper level winds do not get any stronger, then Xavier could persist as a tropical storm for another day or two.  If the upper level winds do get stronger, which is the forecast of many numerical models, then Xavier will quickly weaken to a tropical depression.  The official forecast from the National Hurricane Center follows the second scenario and it weakens Xavier to a tropical depression by Monday night.

The upper level trough will also determine future track of Tropical Storm Xavier.  If the upper level winds allow Xavier to persist as a tropical storm, then the trough will steer Xavier north-northeast toward the coast of Mexico.  If the upper level winds blow the top of the circulation away from the lower level circulation, then the winds closer to the surface would turn the lower part of Xavier back toward the west.  The official forecast from the National Hurricane Center follows the second scenario.

Bands of showers and thunderstorms in the northeaster part of Tropical Storm Xavier are already dropping rain over the coastal regions of Colima and Jalisco.  Prolonged heavy rain could cause flash floods in some locations.  Winds could reach tropical storm force along the coast even if the center of Tropical Storm Xavier does not make landfall.  There could also be a minor storm surge where the wind blows water toward the coast.

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