Reconnaissance plane finds Rick with little change in strength

posted Jul 11, 2012, 9:45 PM by Tom Kachelman   [ updated Jul 11, 2012, 9:45 PM ]
A Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect for the West Coast of southern Baja California from Agua Blanca southward and for the East Coast from Buena Vista southward including Cabo San Lucas. A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 24 hours. At 1100 am PDT/1800 UTC the center of Tropical Storm Rick was located by an Air Force reconnaissance aircraft near latitude 20.0 north/longitude 110.5 west or about 200 miles/325 km south of Cabo San Lucas Mexico.
Rick is moving toward the northeast near 7 mph/11 km/hr and this motion with an increase in forward speed is expected later today and Wednesday. On this track the center of Rick is expected to pass near or to the south of the southern tip of Baja California tonight or early Wednesday and approach the western coast of Mainland Mexico on Wednesday. Maximum sustained winds remain near 65 mph/100 km/hr with higher gusts. Little change in strength is forecast during the next 24 hours. The low-level center of Rick is difficult to locate even with the first visible images of the day.
However it does appear that the cyclone continues to gradually turn toward the right with an initial motion estimate of 040/06. Water vapor images show a mid- to upper-level trough amplifying over the southwestern United States. Global models are in good agreement in showing further amplification of the trough during the next 12 to 24 hours. This will cause Rick to accelerate northeastward through landfall.
The official track forecast is nudged slightly to the right and is a little faster to trend toward the model consensus. On this track the center of Rick is expected to pass south of the southern tip of Baja California tonight and make landfall over Mainland Mexico within 36 hours.