Beatriz, the second storm of the Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season, has strengthened to hurricane status after it has formed off the coast of South-western Mexico on Sunday morning.
The storm made landfall early this morning northeast of the city of Manzanillo. According the 8 AM PDT advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Beatriz is now slightly offshore and is located 55 miles south-southeast of Cabo Corrientes, Mexico. It is moving 14 mph in a northwest direction and packing maximum sustained winds of 80 mph.
“Beatriz is currently projected to maintain Category 1 hurricane status as it moves along the coast before making a turn to the west-northwest and farther out to sea later today,” said Dr. Tim Doggett, principal scientist, AIR Worldwide. “The storm slowly weakened from a peak maximum sustained wind speed of 90 mph as a result of its interaction with land. Rapid weakening is expected after 24 hours as the storm moves into cooler waters, and the current forecast track does not include another landfall.”
Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 25 miles from the center of the storm, and tropical storm force winds extend up to 105 miles. Dr. Doggett commented, “Although limited wind damage is expected to well-built structures at Beatriz’s observed wind speeds, the storm is expected to bring torrential rainfall, with total accumulations of 6 to 12 inches over several coastal states in southwestern Mexico. The heaviest rainfall, up to 20 inches, can affect mountainous regions of the coast, creating a risk of deadly flash flooding and mudslides.”
Large and destructive waves are expected to batter a long stretch of coast, creating the potential for widespread coastal flooding. Local authorities have closed several ports, including ones in Acapulco, Manzanillo and Zihuatanejo. Flooding has been reported in Acapulco, where authorities say some 100 homes have been damaged, and in downtown Zihautenejo. A hurricane warning is in effect along several hundred miles of the coast from La Fortuna to Cabo Corrientes.
Beatriz’ windfield is currently over a sparsely populated portion of the state of Jalisco. According to AIR, exposure value in this region is relatively low, although many hotels line the beaches. The storm is not currently expected to affect Puerto Vallarta, a popular resort town with a high concentration of high-value exposure. Mexico has no significant oil or gas platforms in the Pacific.
Dr. Doggett concluded, “In advance of the season, forecasters from the National Hurricane Center called for a 70% probability of a below normal Eastern Pacific hurricane season, with 9 to 15 named storms expected (compared to the long-term average of 16), and 5 to 8 hurricanes expected (compared to the long-term average of 9). The main reasons behind the below average forecast include ongoing conditions (including warmer Atlantic waters, enhanced West Africa monsoon system, and suppressed convection over the Amazon Basin) that have suppressed activity in the Eastern Pacific since 1995 and neutral El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions expected during the peak months of the season.”
AIR will continue to monitor the progress of Hurricane Beatriz as it moves along Mexico’s southwestern coast. Updates will be provided if warranted by events. At this time, AIR does not expect significant insured losses from this storm.
Source : AIR Worldwide