Former Hurricane Olaf weakened to a tropical storm when it passed over southern Baja California on Friday. At 2:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Tropical Storm Olaf was located at latitude 24.5°N and longitude 112.2°W which put it about 20 miles (30 km) south-southeast of Cabo San Lazaro, Mexico. Olaf was moving toward the northwest at 12 m.p.h. (19 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 997 mb.
A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Puerto San Andresito to Loreto. The Tropical Storm Warning included Cabo San Lucas and La Paz.
Former Hurricane Olaf weakened on Friday when the circulation passed over mountains in the southern part of Baja California. The low level center of circulation of Tropical Storm Olaf was visible on satellite images. The low level center was back over the Eastern North Pacific Ocean near Cabo San Lazaro. There were mainly showers and lower clouds near the low level center. Most of the thunderstorms were occurring in bands on the eastern side of Olaf that were over Baja California and the Gulf of California. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 70 miles (110 km) from the center of circulation. A weather station in Puerto Cortes, Mexico recently reported a sustained wind speed of 44 m.p.h. (70 km/h) and a wind gust of 53 m.p.h. (85 km/h).
Tropical Storm Olaf will move through an environment unfavorable for intensification during the next several days. Olaf will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 25˚C. The air over the cooler water is drier and more stable. Drier, more stable air will inhibit the develop of thunderstorms. If new thunderstorms do not form near the center of Tropical Storm Olaf during the next 12 hours, it will gradually weaken. Olaf is forecast to weaken to a tropical depression on Saturday.
The future track of Tropical Storm Olaf will depend on how fast Olaf weakens. If no new thunderstorms develop near the center of Olaf, then the tropical storm will be steered by the winds in the lower levels of the atmosphere. A surface high pressure system over the Eastern North Pacific Ocean is forecast to steer Tropical Storm Olaf toward the west-southwest during the weekend. On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Olaf will gradually move away from Baja California.
Tropical Storm Olaf developed west of Mexico on Wednesday morning. At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Tropical Storm Olaf was located at latitude 18.9°N and longitude 107.5°W which put it about 315 miles (510 km) south-southeast of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Olaf was moving toward the northwest at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 1005 mb.
A Tropical Storm Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from Los Barriles to Santa Fe, Mexico.
The circulation around former Tropical Depression Fifteen-E strengthened on Wednesday morning and the National Hurricane Center designated the system as Tropical Storm Olaf. The inner end of a rainband wrapped around the northern side of the center of Olaf. Other bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the center of circulation. Storms near the center generated upper level divergence that pumped mass away from the tropical storm. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 45 miles (75 km) in the northeastern quadrant of Olaf. The winds were blowing at less than tropical storm force in the other parts of the circulation.
Tropical Storm Olaf will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 24 hours. Olaf will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29˚C. It will move south of an upper level ridge over the southwestern U.S. The ridge will produce northeasterly winds that will blow toward the top of Olaf’s circulation. Those winds will cause some vertical wind shear, but the shear will not be strong enough to prevent intensification of Tropical Storm Olaf. Olaf will strengthen during the next 24 hours and there is a chance it could intensify to a hurricane.
Tropical Storm Olaf will move around the western side of a high pressure system over Mexico. The high will steer Olaf toward the northwest during the next 24 hours. On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Olaf could approach the southern end of Baja California on Thursday. Olaf could bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to southern Baja California.