Hurricane Blanca Could Impact the Baja California Peninsula

Tropical Storm Blanca strengthened into a hurricane on Tuesday June 2nd, and has now rapidly intensified into a Category 4 major hurricane as of Wednesday June 3rd, it is currently located just over 400 miles off the Mexican Pacific Coast.

Some additional strengthening is possible and Blanca could reach Category 5 status (winds of 157 mph or greater) by Thursday June 4th.

After being at its peak intensity as a Category 4 or Category 5 hurricane into Friday June 5th, Blanca is then expected to weaken quickly due to increased wind shear and movement over cooler water later on the weekend. Blanca is nearly stationary, but will begin moving northwestward Thursday June 4th.

There is increasing confidence in a track toward southern Baja California. However, the average track error at 96 hours is about 165 statute miles. With a small wind field, this can make a huge difference in impacts.

Hurricane Blanca (Image: The Weather Channel)

If Blanca directly impacts the southern Baja peninsula, it would likely do so sometime Sunday June 7th. As mentioned above, however, Blanca is expected to be weakening, possibly rapidly, as it moves toward the latitude of the southern Baja peninsula.

Those in the southern Baja peninsula, including Los Cabos, should closely monitor the progress of Blanca. High surf and swells generated from Blanca – and leftover from Andres – will affect the Mexican Riviera and southern Baja coast. Dangerous rip currents are likely.

Remnant moisture from Blanca may eventually be drawn into the Desert Southwest and southern Rockies next week. Blanca is the earliest formation of the second hurricane in the eastern Pacific basin since reliable records began in 1971.

According to NOAA’s database, only one other pre-July 1 tropical cyclone tracked within 65 nautical miles of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, a Jun. 14, 1958 Category 1 hurricane whose center passed just south of Los Cabos.