Tropical Storm Blanca Weakens South of Baja California

Tropical Storm Blanca weakened south of Baja California on Tuesday afternoon. At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Tropical Storm Blanca was located at latitude 14.7°N and longitude 110.9°W which put it about 570 miles (915 km) south of the southern tip of Baja California. Blanca was moving toward the west-northwest at 8 m.p.h. (13 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 1001 mb.

After reaching its maximum intensity on Monday night when the sustained wind speed was 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h), Tropical Storm Blanca weakened on Tuesday afternoon. An upper level trough west of Baja California produced moderate southwesterly winds that blew toward the top of Blanca’s circulation. Those winds caused moderate vertical wind shear and the shear caused Tropical Storm Blanca to weaken. The vertical wind shear also caused an asymmetrical distribution of thunderstorms around Blanca. The strongest thunderstorms were occurring in bands on the eastern side of Tropical Storm Blanca. Bands in the western half of the tropical storm consisted primarily of showers and lower clouds. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 45 miles (75 km) from the center of Blanca.

Tropical Storm Blanca will move through an environment unfavorable for intensification during the next several days. Blanca will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperatures are near 28°C. However the upper level trough west of Baja California will cause strong vertical wind shear and the wind shear will cause Blanca to weaken. Tropical Storm Blanca could weaken to a tropical depression in a day or two.

Tropical Storm Blanca will move around the southern part of a subtropical high pressure system over the Eastern North Pacific Ocean. The high will steer Blanca toward the west-northwest during the next two days. On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Blanca will move farther away from Baja California.