Hurricane Beatriz slams into Mexico; heavy rains, tornadoes hit the Midwest
Hurricane Beatriz plowed into the Pacific coast of Mexico near La Fortuna this morning as a Category 1 hurricane with 90 mph winds, bringing very heavy rains and mudslides to a 200-mile stretch of coast. Acapulco reported 5.20" of rain yesterday, and one injury due to a falling free. Hurricane-force winds extend outwards 25 miles from the center of Beatriz, and these winds are likely to cause moderate damage along a 200-mile stretch of the Mexican coast today as the storm moves northwestwards towards Cabo Corrientes. However, the primary threat from the storm will be heavy rain, and the expected rains of 6 - 12" are likely to cause very dangerous flooding and mudslides today and Wednesday morning. Satellite loops reveal that Beatriz weakened significantly over the past few hours, once the eye moved over land. The mountainous terrain of coastal Mexico will continue to tear up the storm today, and Beatriz will likely be a weak tropical storm by the time it moves back out to sea on Wednesday.
Figure 1. Morning satellite image of Hurricane Beatriz over the Pacific coast of Mexico taken at 9:30am EDT June 21, 2011. Image credit: NASA/GSFC.
Tornadoes, heavy rain slam the Midwest
Severe thunderstorms rumbled through a wide section of the Midwest yesterday, generating numerous tornadoes, baseball-sized hail, and heavy flooding rains. The storm also brought heavy snow to the mountains of Colorado above 9,500 feet, an unusual occurrence for so late in June. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center logged 43 preliminary tornado reports yesterday in Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Texas, and North Dakota. The tornadoes mostly avoided populated areas, and only sporadic damage was reported. Perhaps the most significant impact of the storm was the large area of 1 - 4 inches of rain it dropped on Nebraska and South Dakota. This rain will run off into the Missouri River, further aggravating the flooding that has breached two levees and overtopped two other levees in the past week. The large, slow-moving low pressure system responsible for the rains and severe weather will bring additional heavy rains of 1 - 3 inches over portions of the Missouri River watershed today, and will touch off a new round of severe weather today and Wednesday as the storm progresses slowly eastwards. However, the Storm Prediction Center is issuing only their "Slight Risk" forecast for severe weather for both days.
Figure 2. Radar reflectivity image of a supercell thunderstorm with a classic hook echo. The storm spawned a tornado that hit Elm Creek, Nebraska yesterday. The tornado ripped the roofs off of several houses and tore down power lines.
The Atlantic is quiet
The Atlantic is quiet, with no tropical cyclones predicted over the next seven days by the reliable computer models.