Wednesday, September 2, 2009

UPDATE 3: Hurricane Jimena and Rocky Point, Mexico


UPDATE 2: It looks like Bahia Asuncion on the Pacific side of Baja and Mulege and Loreto on the Sea of Cortez side are seeing some serious weather. Sand flying, pounding surf, raining sideways and a loss of power in some areas. The storm, which has weakened significantly, appears to be sitting around the mountains behind Mulege, with the center officially about 60 miles/100KM south of Santa Rosalia. As of 2:00PM PDT, a tropical storm warning has been issued for northwestern mainland Mexico from Huatabampito to Bahia Kino.

Jimena is moving toward the north near 13 MPH/20KM per hour. A turn toward the northwest and a decrease in forward speed is expected tonight, with a turn toward the west expected on Thursday.

Moisture from Jimena may still move up to Puerto Penasco and give us some rain and choppy ocean conditions (we've already seen clouds and a bit of wind), but nothing serious is expected from Jimena in our neck of the woods.

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UPDATE Sept. 2, 8:00AM PDT: Load up the vehicle and head on down to Puerto Penasco for the Labor Day fun and games. From the looks of this most recent update and most of the computer models, Jimena will be taking a sharp turn to the west by Thursday, Sept. 3, and heading out into the Pacific as a tropical storm/depression.

That's good news for Rocky Point, but things are still looking pretty bad for the Baja and parts of the coastal mainland where there is considerable rain and the possibility of flooding. The arms of this storm are still far-reaching, as you can see from this image. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 35 miles/55 km from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 140 miles/220 km.

Jimena is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 5 to 10 inches over the southern half of the Baja Peninsula and portions of western Mexico during the next couple of days, with possible isolated maximum amounts of 15 inches. These rains could produce life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Jimena is moving toward the north-northwest near 13 mph/20 km/hr. This general motion is expected to continue with a decrease in forward speed during the next 24 to 36 hours. On this course the core of Jimena will be near or just offshore the West Coast of the southern Baja California peninsula today, and near or over the central Baja California peninsula on Thursday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 100 mph/160 km/hr with higher gusts. Jimena is a category two hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Weakening is forecast during the next 24 hours, but Jimena is still forecast to be a hurricane when it moves inland.

A dangerous storm surge along with large and dangerous battering waves will produce significant coastal flooding along the Baja California peninsula.

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