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New tropical depression forms south of Baja California

By: Civicane49, 4:45 AM GMT on October 13, 2013

The low pressure system located south of the Baja California peninsula has acquired enough organization to become the fifteenth tropical depression of the 2013 East Pacific season. As of the latest National Hurricane Center advisory, maximum sustained winds and minimum barometric pressure of Tropical Depression Fifteen-E were 35 mph and 1005 mb, respectively. Satellite loop reveals an organizing tropical depression, with a large curved band in the western semicircle wrapping around the center and a well-defined outflow pattern. The depression is very likely to become a tropical storm in a few hours. If it becomes a tropical storm, it will be named “Octave”.

Forecast for Fifteen-E
The depression is moving northwestward at 12 mph. This motion is expected to continue for at least 24 hours in response to a mid-level ridge situated to the east and north. After that, the ridge is forecast to weaken and shift eastward as a large, deep-layer trough situated over western United States will dig to the south and move eastward. This should result the tropical cyclone to decrease its forward speed and turn northward and northeastward to Baja California peninsula. Track guidance is in good agreement with this scenario.

The tropical depression is in a region of warm sea surface temperatures and relatively low vertical wind shear, so additional organization and strengthening are expected. After 24 hours, it will move into gradually decreasing sea surface temperatures and increasing southwesterly shear, and this should cause steady weakening. By 72-96 hours, the cyclone should degenerate into a remnant low just before reaching the western coast of the Baja California peninsula. Regardless of whether or not it makes landfall as a weak tropical cyclone, heavy rainfall and some gusty winds are expected for portions of Baja California on Tuesday into Thursday. Increased swells and rip currents are also expected for the coastline of southwestern Baja California. Interests along the Baja California peninsula should monitor the progress of the tropical depression in the next several days.


Figure 1. Evening infrared satellite image of Tropical Depression Fifteen-E. Image credt: NOAA/RAMMB.

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