Tropical Storm Celia Churns Southwest of Mexico

Tropical Storm Celia churned over the Eastern North Pacific Ocean southwest of Mexico on Wednesday night. At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Tropical Storm Celia was located at latitude 14.2°N and longitude 104.4°W which put it about 330 miles (535 km) south of Manzanillo, Mexico. Celia was moving toward the northwest at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h) and and there were wind gusts to 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 1000 mb.

Winds to tropical storm force extended out 70 miles (110 km) from the center of Celia’s circulation. Even though Tropical Storm Celia strengthened a little on Wednesday, the distribution of thunderstorms remained asymmetrical. The strongest thunderstorms were occurring in bands in the western and southern parts of Celia’s circulation. Bands in the eastern and northern parts of Tropical Storm Celia consisted primarily of showers and lower clouds. An upper level ridge over Mexico and the Eastern North Pacific Ocean was producing moderate east-northeasterly winds that were blowing toward the top of Celia’s circulation. Those winds were causing some vertical wind shear and the wind shear was contributing to the asymmetrical distribution of thunderstorms.

Tropical Storm Celia will move through an environment that will become more favorable for intensification during the next 48 hours. Celia will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperatures are near 28˚C. Although the upper level ridge over Mexico and the Eastern North Pacific will continue to produce east-northeasterly winds, those winds will weaken during the next 48 hours. When the upper level winds weaken, the vertical wind shear will diminish. Tropical Storm Celia is likely to intensify during the next 48 hours. Celia could strengthen to a hurricane on Friday.

Tropical Storm Celia will move southwest of a high pressure system over Mexico during the next 48 hours. The high pressure system will steer Celia toward the west-northwest. On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Celia will move south of Baja California by Saturday.

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