Henriette Reaches Hurricane Strength; Threatens Baja Calif.

Felix has a little sister in the Pacific Ocean that has already caused the deaths of 8 people from landslides triggered by heavy rains near Acapulco. The storm first formed last Thursday, Aug. 30, and has been steadily moving northward up the Mexican Coast straight for the southern tip of Baja California. Miami’s National Hurricane Center has upgraded Henriette to a Category One hurricane.

Hurricane warnings have been issued for the Baja Peninsula, including Cabo San Lucas, while tropical storm warnings remain in place along Mexico’s West Coast. According to the NHC bulletin issued at 2:00 a.m. PDT the center of hurricane Henriette was located about 115 miles (185 kms) south-southeast of the southern tip of Baja California. The storm is moving toward the north-northwest at around 8 mph (13 km/hr), but an “increase in forward speed is expected for the next 24 hours,” which would bring the storm onshore this afternoon.

Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 75 mph (120 km/hr) with higher gusts. The NHC forecast “little change in strength” prior to landfall. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 25 miles (35 kms) from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 140 miles (220 kms). The Center also indicated that “coastal storm surge flooding of 2 to 3 feet above normal tide levels, along with large and dangerous battering waves, can be expected in areas of onshore flow near the path of the center of Henriette.” Rainfall is expected to be between 3 to 5 inches (7.6 to12.7 cms) along the West Coast of Mexico, with isolated maximum amounts of 10 inches (25.4 cms) possible. Baja can expect 4 to 8 inches (10.16 to 20.32 cms).

Source: NHC – http://www.nhc.noaa.gov and news reports