Hurricane hunter aircraft finds Rick weaker

posted Jul 11, 2012, 9:36 PM by Tom Kachelman   [ updated Jul 11, 2012, 9:37 PM ]
Hurricane hunter aircraft finds Rick weaker. At 11:00 am PDT/1800 UTC the center of Hurricane Rick was located by an Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft near latitude 18.2 north/longitude 111.6 west or about 340 miles/550 km south-southwest of Cabo San Lucas Mexico and about 55 miles/90 km southwest of Socorro island. Rick is moving toward the northwest near 8 mph/13 km/hr.
A turn toward the north with a decrease in forward speed is expected in the next 24 hours. Rick is then forecast to accelerate toward the north-northeast and northeast by late Tuesday and early Wednesday. On the forecast track the center of the hurricane will be nearing southern Baja California by late Tuesday or early Wednesday. Preliminary data from the Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 105 mph/165 km/hr with higher gusts. Rick is a category two hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
Although additional weakening is forecast during the next couple of days Rick could still be a hurricane as it approaches the southern Baja Peninsula. The hurricane hunter aircraft will continue to investigate Rick for the next couple of hours. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 40 miles/65 km from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 175 miles/280 km. A Hurricane Watch remains in effect for southern Baja California from Santa Fe southward on the West Coast and from San Evaristo southward on the East Coast including Cabo San Lucas. A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 36 hours.