Felicia Strengthens to a Major Hurricane

Hurricane Felicia strengthened to a major hurricane on Friday morning. At 5:00 a.m. EDT on Friday the center of Hurricane Felicia was located at latitude 15.1°N and longitude 121.0°W which put it about 900 miles (1450 km) southwest of the southern tip of Baja California. Felicia was moving toward the west at 9 m.p.h. (15 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 115 m.p.h. (185 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 135 m.p.h. (220 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 968 mb.

Hurricane Felicia continued to intensify quickly on Thursday and it strengthened to a major hurricane on Friday morning. A small circular eye was present at the center of Felicia. The eye was surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms. Storms around the core of Felicia generated upper level divergence that pumped mass away from the hurricane. The circulation around Hurricane Felicia was small. Winds to hurricane force extended out 25 miles (40 km) from the center of Felicia. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 60 miles (95 km) from the center of circulation.

Hurricane Felicia will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 12 hours. Felicia will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperatures are near 28°C. It will move through a region where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear. Hurricane Felicia could strengthen on Friday. Felicia will move over slightly cooler water during the weekend. Cooler Sea Surface Temperatures will cause Hurricane Felicia to weaken.

Hurricane Felicia will move south of a subtropical high pressure system during the next few days. The high will steer Felicia toward the west. On its anticipated track Hurricane Felicia will move toward the Central Pacific Ocean.