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.
Major Hurricane Sergio churned southwest of Baja California. At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Hurricane Sergio was located at latitude 13.3°N and longitude 117.9°W which put it about 845 miles (1360 km) southwest of the southern tip of Baja California. Sergio was moving toward the northwest at 9 m.p.h. (15 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 125 m.p.h. (200 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 145 m.p.h. (230 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 955 mb.
Hurricane Sergio is a well organized hurricane. There is a circular eye at the center of circulation. A ring of strong thunderstorms surrounds the eye and the strongest winds are occurring in that ring of storms. Several bands of showers and thunderstorms are revolving around the core of Hurricane Sergio. Storms near the core are generating strong upper level divergence which is pumping mass away in all directions from the hurricane.
Winds to hurricane force extend out about 45 miles (75 km) from the center of Hurricane Sergio. Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 150 miles (240 km) from the center of circulation. The Hurricane intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Sergio is 23.6. The Hurrricane Size Index (HSI) is 15.1 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) is 38.7.
Hurricane Sergio will remain in an environment capable of supporting a major hurricane for several more days. Sergio will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C. It will move through an area where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear. Hurricane Sergio could strengthen to Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. Hurricane Sergio will move over cooler water in a couple of days and it is likely to weaken when that occurs.
Hurricane Sergio will move south of a subtropical ridge over the Eastern North Pacific Ocean. The ridge will steer Sergio toward the northwest during the next day or so. The ridge is forecast to strengthen on Friday and it will steer Sergio more toward the west when that happens. On its expected track Hurricane Sergio will move gradually farther away from Baja California.