Hurricane Felicia Reaches Cat. 4

Hurricane Felicia reached Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale on Friday. At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Hurricane Felicia was located at latitude 14.8°N and longitude 123.2°W which put it about 1030 miles (1660 km) west-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 130 m.p.h. (210 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 160 m.p.h. (260 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 954 mb.

Hurricane Felicia strengthened to Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale on Friday. A small circular eye at the center of Felicia became more well defined on satellite images. 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 20 miles (35 km) from the center of Felicia. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 60 miles (95 km) from the center of circulation. The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Felicia was 25.1. The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 6.1 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 31.2.

Hurricane Felicia may have reached its peak intensity. Felicia will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperatures are near 28°C for a few more hours. It will move through a region where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear. Those environmental conditions may allow Hurricane Felicia to maintain its intensity for awhile. Felicia will move over slightly cooler water during the weekend. Cooler Sea Surface Temperatures will cause Hurricane Felicia to start 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.

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