On Thursday, the storm was over 400 miles away from Mexico’s west coast, and the forecast predicted that it would remain out at sea.
On Thursday, Hurricane Adrian kept moving westward off Mexico’s coast. It became the first hurricane in the eastern Pacific this year, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The storm was heading across the Pacific, moving away from Mexico’s west coast. It had maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour, just above the hurricane threshold of 74 mph. When tropical disturbances reach sustained winds of at least 39 mph, they are given a name.
As of Thursday afternoon, the National Weather Service reported that there were no coastal watches or warnings in place for Hurricane Adrian. However, the Hurricane Center mentioned that Adrian might still gain strength throughout the day.
The Hurricane Center also mentioned the formation of a different tropical storm further south in the Pacific. As of Thursday, this system was located approximately 175 miles southeast of Acapulco, Mexico. Certain tropical warnings and watches were in effect for parts of the southwestern coast of the country in relation to that storm system.
The National Hurricane Center stated that the system, with winds reaching a maximum of 35 mph, had the potential to become a hurricane by Friday evening. Southern Mexico could receive around seven inches of rain, increasing the risk of flash flooding.
As of Thursday at noon, Adrian was located 445 miles west-southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico, and moving at a speed of seven mph.
According to meteorologist Maria Torres from the National Hurricane Center, Adrian was projected to maintain its current general direction until Thursday, with a turn to the west-northwest expected on Friday. She reassured me that the hurricane did not pose an immediate threat to land and would remain in open waters.
However, Ms. Torres advised coastal residents in Mexico to stay vigilant and stay updated through local meteorology offices, as Adrian could generate rip currents and unsafe beach conditions.
Typically, when a tropical storm forms in the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean, it tends to move westward. This means that storms in the Atlantic Ocean usually pose a greater threat to North America. On the other hand, when a storm forms near land in the Pacific, it can cause destructive winds and rainfall before eventually moving away from the coast.
However, there are instances where an air mass can obstruct a storm’s path, redirecting it northward or northeastward towards the Baja California peninsula and other areas along the west coast of Mexico. Occasionally, a storm can even travel further north, as seen last year with post-tropical cyclone Kay, which brought damaging winds and heavy rain to Southern California.
Occasionally, Pacific storms can cross over U.S. land. For example, in 1997, Hurricane Nora hit Baja California, then moved inland and reached Arizona as a tropical storm.
The eastern Pacific hurricane season begins on May 15, which is two weeks earlier than the Atlantic season. Both seasons last until November 30.
Adding complexity to the Pacific region this year is the potential development of El Niño, a weather pattern that can have significant impacts worldwide.
In the Pacific Ocean, El Niño reduces wind shear, which is the changes in wind speed and direction. Normally, wind shear helps prevent storm formation, so a reduction in wind shear increases the likelihood of storms. However, in the Atlantic Ocean, El Niño has the opposite effect.
On average, the eastern Pacific hurricane season produces 15 named storms, with eight usually becoming hurricanes and four reaching major hurricane status with winds over 111 mph. In the Central Pacific, around four to five named storms occur or move across the region each year.
Scientists agree that hurricanes are becoming stronger due to climate change. While the total number of named storms may not necessarily increase, the chances of major hurricanes are rising.
Climate change also affects rainfall during storms. In a warmer world, the air can hold more moisture, leading to increased rainfall from named storms, such as Hurricane Harvey in 2017, which caused over 40 inches of rain in less than 48 hours in certain areas of Texas.
Researchers have observed that storms have been slowing down in recent decades. When a storm slows over water, it can absorb more moisture. When it slows over land, it results in increased rainfall in a particular area. In 2019, Hurricane Dorian’s slow movement over the northwestern Bahamas led to a total rainfall of 22.84 inches in Hope Town.