Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

Monday, August 31, 2009

UPDATE on Hurricane Jimena and Rocky Point, Mexico

How quickly things can change!

As many local storm watchers predicted, Hurricane Jimena has given indications of taking a jog to the north/northeast and its predicted path now takes it across the Baja Peninsula to the Sea of Cortez, where it is expected to move north/northeast, making landfall as a weak tropical storm or a tropical depression along the Sonoran Coast somewhat to the south of Puerto Penasco.

If Jimena approaches Puerto Penasco closely, even as a weak tropical storm, we can expect some heavy rains, big waves and windy conditions by Saturday, Sept. 5, which is part of the Labor Day Weekend. Storm surge caused by high surf combined with the high tides expected over the weekend could cause some problems along the Malecon and some beachfront properties, so it is best to be prepared just in case.

Parts of Arizona are also likely to see some rain, with the possibility of local flooding.

According to the latest information released at 2:00PM PDT, Hurricane Jimena is an extremely dangerous storm exhibiting 155 mph winds, nearly a Category 5, about 305 miles from the southern tip of Baja. The storm is moving northwest at 10 mph. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 45 miles (75KM) from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 140 miles (220KM).

Jimena is expected to make landfall Tuesday night or Wednesday morning slightly to the north of Cabo San Lucas, perhaps in the vicinity of Todos Santos. The computer models have come into better agreement with their latest 12Z runs, giving confidence that a landfall north of Cabo San Lucas will occur, and Cabo is now outside of the NHC cone of uncertainty. Cabo San Lucas has a 13% chance of receiving hurricane force winds, according to NHC's wind probability product. Serious flooding due to heavy rains will occur across all of the southern Baja Tuesday and Wednesday. Jimena is of similar intensity and is following a similar track to Hurricane Juliette of 2001, which brought 17.7" of rain to Cabo San Lucas. Juliette killed 7 people and caused $20 million in damage to Mexico, mostly due to flash flooding and mudslides from the heavy rains.

Make sure you have your emergency preparations in place to last at least a couple of days, with extra water, batteries for flashlights and other important battery-operated items, and charge up your electric toothbrush and digital camera, etc. It is not likely at this point that Jimena will hit Rocky Point as a major storm, but it's always better to be prepared.

The Tides will keep you posted about the status of Hurricane Jimena, so come back often for updated information.