Hurricane Blas strengthened rapidly Tuesday to a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Hurricane Blas was located at latitude 14.4°N and longitude 121.7°W which put it about 970 miles (1560 km) west-southwest of the southern tip of Baja California. Blas was moving toward the west at 13 m.p.h. (20 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 140 m.p.h. (220 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 170 m.p.h. (275 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 947 mb.
The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Blas was 28.2. The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 12.2 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 40.4.
The circulation of Hurricane Blas is fairly symmetrical and well organized, although many of the stronger thunderstorms are occurring in the southeastern quadrant. Blas has a clear eye which is surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms. Those storms generated upper level divergence which pumped out a lot of mass in all directions and allowed the pressure to decrease rapidly on Tuesday.
Hurricane Blas is in an environment that is favorable for strong hurricanes. It is moving over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C. The winds in the upper levels are light and there is not much vertical wind shear. Hurricane Blas could get stronger on Wednesday. However, eyewall replacement cycles sometimes occur in strong hurricanes. When an eyewall replacement cycle occurs, it can bring an end to a period of intensification.
A ridge of high pressure located north of Blas is steering the hurricane toward the west and that motion is expected to continue for several more days. Hurricane Blas continues to move farther away from Mexico.
Tropical Storm Blas intensified into the first Eastern North Pacific hurricane of 2016 on Monday. At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Hurricane Blas was located at latitude 13.7°N and longitude 115.7°W which put it about 740 miles (1190 km) southwest of the southern tip of Baja California. Blas was moving toward the west-northwest at 14 m.p.h. (22 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h) and there were gusts to 90 m.p.h. (145 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 994 mb.
The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Blas was 10.4. The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 6.1. The Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 16.5.
The large circulation of Hurricane Blas is still organizing. A primary rainband wrapped around the center of circulation and an eye may be forming in the center of Blas. Additional bands of thunderstorms are spiraling around the core of Hurricane Blas. The thunderstorms near the center of circulation are generating upper level divergence which is pumping out mass. Despite the improved organization the wind field around Hurricane Blas is asymmetrical. Winds to hurricane force are occurring primarily in the eastern half of the circulation. The strongest winds extend out about 25 miles (40 km) east of the center of Hurricane Blas. Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 150 miles (240 km) east of the center, but only about 80 miles (130 km) west of the center.
Hurricane Blas is in an environment that is favorable for further intensification. It is moving over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C. An upper level ridge north of Blas is generating some northeasterly winds which are blowing over the top of the circulation. The vertical wind shear is moderate. It is slowing the rate of intensification, but the shear is unlikely to prevent Hurricane Blas from intensifying during the next several days. Blas does have a chance to become a major hurricane later this week.
A ridge of high pressure is steering Hurricane Blas toward the west-northwest and that general motion is expect to continue for several more days. Hurricane Blas is moving farther away from Mexico.