Rick maintaining winds near 180 mph remains dangerous hurricane

posted Jul 11, 2012, 9:21 PM by Tom Kachelman   [ updated Jul 11, 2012, 9:22 PM ]
Interests in southern Baja California and the southwest coast of Mexico should monitor the progress of this extremely dangerous hurricane.
At 2:00 am PDT/09:00 UTC the eye of Hurricane Rick was centered near latitude 15.3 north/longitude 107.2 west or about 555 miles/890 km south-southeast of Cabo San Lucas Mexico. Rick is moving toward the west-northwest near 14 mph/22 km/hr and a gradual turn toward the northwest and north-northwest is expected over the next 48 hours. Satellite images indicate that the maximum sustained winds remain near 180 mph/285 km/hr with higher gusts.
Rick is a category five hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale! Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next 24 hours but Rick is expected to remain an extremely dangerous hurricane for the next day or two. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 60 miles/95 km from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 175miles/280 km. Estimated minimum central pressure is 906 mb/26.75 inches.
Large swells generated by Rick will affect portions of the southwestern coast of Mexico during the next couple of days causing potentially dangerous surf conditions. Infrared satellite images show that Rick is maintaining an extremely well-defined 15 N mi diameter eye embedded within very cold cloud tops. In any event Rick has probably reached its maximum intensity as it will be moving into an environment that will gradually become less conducive for strengthening. The NHC forecast track is very similar to the previous one and shows a track over southern Baja California and western Mainland Mexico in the latter part of the period.
However interests in these areas should bear in mind that significant errors in landfall location and timing are possible in the 4- and 5-day time frame. Although the hurricane is not likely to maintain category five strength when it approaches Baja California it could still be quite powerful by that time.
Interests in that area and along the southwest coast of Mainland Mexico should closely follow the progress of this extremely dangerous hurricane over the next several days.