Blas Rapidly Intensifies to a Hurricane

Former Tropical Storm Blas rapidly intensified to a hurricane over the Eastern North Pacific Ocean on Wednesday morning. At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Hurricane Blas was located at latitude 14.9°N and longitude 102.8°W which put it about 300 miles (485 km) south-southeast of Manzanillo, Mexico. Blas was moving toward the west-northwest at 5 m.p.h. (8 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h) and and there were wind gusts to 90 m.p.h. (145 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 988 mb.

Former Tropical Storm Blas rapidly intensified during the past 24 hours and Blas reached hurricane intensity on Wednesday morning. The inner end of a rainband wrapped around the center of Hurricane Blas and a small eye was apparent on microwave satellite images. The eye was surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms. Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Hurricane Blas. Storms near the core generated upper level divergence that pumped mass away from the hurricane in all directions. The circulation around Blas was small. Hurricane force winds extended out 15 miles (25 km) from the center of circulation. Tropical storm force winds extended out 45 miles from the center.

Hurricane Blas will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 24 hours. Blas will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperatures are near 29˚C. It will move through a region where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear. Hurricane Blas will strengthen during the next 24 hours. Blas could continue to intensify rapidly since an inner core has formed.

Hurricane Blas will move south of the western end of a high pressure system over Mexico during the next several days. The high pressure system will steer Blas toward the west-northwest. On its anticipated track Hurricane Blas will move slowly away from the west coast of Mexico during the next 24 hours.