Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:10 PM GMT on June 15, 2012
Hurricane Carlotta has steadily intensified today as it heads northwest towards the Mexican coast east of Acapulco. Recent satellite loops show a well-organized storm with a prominent eye, solid eyewall with cold cloud-tops, and good low-level spiral banding. Carlotta may be undergoing rapid intensification, thanks to favorable sea surface temperatures near 30°C (86°F) and moderate wind shear of 10 - 20 knots. A hurricane hunter mission is en-route, and will arrive at the storm near 2pm EDT on Friday to see how strong Carlotta has become. Carlotta's rain bands have already moved over the coast of Mexico a few hundred miles east of Acapulco, as seen on Puerto Ánoel radar.
Figure 1. Morning satellite image of Carlotta.
Figure 2. Morning radar image of Carlotta from the Puerto Ánoel radar.
Forecast for Carlotta
Carlotta is likely to continue to strengthen as it approaches the western coast of Mexico east of Acapulco. As a large portion of the hurricane's circulation moves over the mountains of Mexico on Saturday morning, steady weakening should occur. Heavy rains from Carlotta will be the storm's main threat, and these rains will steadily progress westwards along the coast, arriving at Acapulco by Saturday morning. With rainfall amounts of 6 - 10 inches possible along the track of Carlotta, the potential for dangerous flash flooding and mudslide will be a concern all along the coast affected by Carlotta.
The Atlantic is quiet
There are no threat areas to discuss in the Atlantic today. The GFS model is predicting that some of the moisture and energy from Carlotta could move into the Gulf of Mexico next week and form a tropical disturbance capable of becoming a tropical depression, but this solution is unlikely.
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