Tropical Storm Sandra, a late-season cyclone that developed Tuesday off southern Mexico, is poised to deliver heavy rain, strong winds and flooding in Cabo San Lucas and elsewhere in Baja Sur, and on the mainland coast later this week.
On Tuesday afternoon the storm was located 525 miles south-southwest of Manzanillo and packing sustained winds of 65 mph.
But Sandra was intensifying rapidly and is expected to attain hurricane strength (74-mph winds or stronger) by Tuesday night. According to the National Hurricane Center, Sandra’s projected path shows a potential hit on Baja California’s tip as early as Friday afternoon.
The were were no warnings or watches in effect as of Tuesday afternoon.
Sandra is one of the latest-forming tropical storms known to forecasters. This is because of unusually warm waters in the region, thanks in large part to a powerful El Niño that's still developing in the equatorial Pacific.
Writes Jeff Masters and Bob Henson for Weather Underground:
“Conditions are quite favorable for Sandra to intensify over the next couple of days, with record-warm sea surface temperatures of 29-30°C (84-86°F) and wind shear of less than 10 knots beneath an upper-level high arcing around the storm.
“The official NHC forecast issued at 10 am EST Tuesday brings Sandra to Category 2 strength, with peak winds of 100 mph by Thursday. NHC’s Rapid Intensification Index shows roughly a 50-50 chance that Sandra will strengthen by at least 30 knots in the next 24 hours.
“If Sandra does reach Category 2 strength, it will be the strongest Eastern Pacific hurricane known to exist so late in the year. All of the six cyclones above were tropical storms or Category 1 hurricanes except for Kenneth, which hit Category 4 strength on November 24, 2011. Kenneth is the latest-occurring major hurricane in Eastern Pacific.”