Major Hurricane Felicia Strengthens

Major Hurricane Felicia strengthened on Saturday morning. At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Hurricane Felicia was located at latitude 14.6°N and longitude 124.6°W which put it about 1120 miles (1800 km) west-southwest of the southern tip of Baja California. Felicia was moving toward the west at 8 m.p.h. (13 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 145 m.p.h. (230 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 175 m.p.h. (280 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 947 mb.

Hurricane Felicia intensified on Saturday morning even though the small hurricane began to move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature was slightly cooler. A well formed circular eye with a diameter of 12 miles (19 km) was 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 20 miles (35 km) from the center of Felicia. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 45 miles (75 km) from the center of circulation. The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Felicia was 29.9. The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 6.1 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 36.0.

Hurricane Felicia will gradually move over water where the Sea Surface Temperatures are slightly cooler. Felicia will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperatures are near 27°C during the rest of the weekend. It will move through a region where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear. Hurricane Felicia will move through an environment capable of supporting a major hurricane during the next 24 hours. Felicia will start to weaken when it moves over slightly cooler water. Since the circulation around Hurricane Felicia is very small, Felicia could weaken rapidly when it moves into a less favorable environment.

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.

Elsewhere over the Eastern North Pacific Ocean, Tropical Depression Seven-E formed south of Baja California on Saturday morning. At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Tropical Depression Seven-E was located at latitude 16.8°N and longitude 109.2°W which put it about 475 miles (680 km) south of the southern tip of Baja California. The tropical depression was moving toward the west-northwest at 17 m.p.h. (28 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 35 m.p.h. (55 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 1007 mb.

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