Baja Hurricane Blanca

By Eric Leister, Meteorologist, ACCUWEATHER
June 5, 2015; 10:49 AM ET

Despite Hurricane Blanca expected to weaken this weekend, dangers loom for residents and visitors on Mexico’s Baja California Sur.

Blanca reached major hurricane status on Wednesday; however, it has gone through a period of weakening and is now the equivalent of a Category 2 hurricane.

Blanca’s strength may fluctuate slightly over the next 24 hours. However, the storm is likely past its peak intensity.

This is the earliest on record, since 1971, that two major hurricanes have formed in the Eastern Pacific. There have been four other seasons that have had two major hurricanes develop before the end of June.

Blanca will continue to track northwestward well off the Mexico mainland through Saturday before approaching Mexico’s Baja California Sur.

Even through Blanca will remain over the open ocean through Saturday, large surf and dangerous rip currents will threaten beachgoers and operators of small craft along the coast of Mexico from Acapulco to near Puerto Vallarta.

This satellite loop of Blanca is courtesy of NOAA.

While the heaviest rain and wind will remain offshore, the increase in moisture will lead to enhanced showers and thunderstorms across parts of Guerrero, Michoacan, Colima and Jalisco through the start of the weekend. Flooding is expected to be localized.

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Later this weekend, Blanca will take aim at Baja California Sur but will also significantly weaken in the process.

“Once Blanca tracks north of Socorro Island, water temperatures are dramatically cooler and will cause it to weaken,” stated AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Rob Miller.

Blanca should weaken to a tropical storm prior to making landfall, likely between Cabo San Lucas and Puerto San Carlos, Sunday night or early Monday morning. These areas suffered widespread damage after Hurricane Odile made landfall across the region last year.

While paling in comparison to Odile at landfall, Blanca will still threaten Baja California Sur with torrential rainfall, dangerous surf and locally damaging winds.

Conditions will deteriorate in a south to north fashion across Baja California Sur Sunday through Monday with some rain even spreading to central parts of Sonora state, near Hermosillo.

Rainfall will generally total 75 to 150 mm (3 to 6 inches) across Baja California Sur, which threatens to cause flash flooding and mudslides.

Extremely dangerous surf and an inundating storm surge will pound the peninsula’s southern tip, south of where Blanca comes onshore. The coastline from Puerto San Carlos to Cabo San Lucas will also face the greatest threat of wind gusts between 65 and 95 kph (40 and 60 mph). Locally higher gusts cannot be ruled.

According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski, “The remnants of Blanca will inject another dose of moisture, in the form of showers and thunderstorms into the Southwest U.S. next week.”

Along with beneficial rain in some areas, too much rain could fall too fast to cause isolated incidents of flooding.

The moisture will follow only a few days behind some moisture produced by the remnants of Andres.

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