Tropical Update: Odile Hammers Baja; Typhoon Nears China

Stu Ostro
Published: September 15, 2014

- After being the strongest Cabo San Lucas hurricane landfall on record, Odile's wind speeds continue to lower, but a rainfall/flood threat continues and will reach the southwest U.S.; there are differences and similarities between last week's situation and this one

- Another tropical system is brewing offshore of Mexico in the eastern Pacific

- Typhoon Kalmaegi/Luis which hit the Philippines is now headed into China and Vietnam

- Edouard has cranked up and is almost a Cat 3; remains far out at sea


Hurricane Edouard is on the verge of Category 3 intensity while far out at sea.

(MORE: Hurricane Edouard)


A graph of intensity estimates as analyzed by an objective, automated satellite technique shows how Odile was steadily but slowly strengthening, then suddenly exploded overnight Saturday night. 

That, and a track which swerved a bit, created the kind of scenario that forecasters worry about, and is a cautionary tale for elsewhere.  Fortunately the nature of the coastline where Odile hit is not as prone and vulnerable to storm surge flooding as some other coasts in various places in the world including some in the U.S., where short-notice massive evacuations could be necessary and are problematic. 

(FORECAST: Hurricane Odile)

Odile's winds are now not as strong but still capable of causing impacts; they will continue to decrease, and the hurricane is on its way to be back down to tropical storm strength, then a tropical depression. 

It continues moving up over the Baja Peninsula and the Gulf of California, with the outer fringe reaching into mainland Mexico. 

Moisture aloft has already crept north of the border, some of it emanating from Odile.

That will lead to an increase in showers and thunderstorms in the desert Southwest during the next couple of days. 

Then the the threat of flooding from more widespread heavy rain will ramp up by Thursday into Friday. 

Like last week, there will be very large amounts of tropical moisture streaming north of the border, ahead of a West Coast trough (southward dip in jet stream). 

Unlike last week, when Norbert's remnant circulation was far away, and the moisture was only indirectly some of Norbert's along with a bunch of other widespread monsoon moisture and even some of Dolly's, this time models are predicting that a concentrated core which is actually with the remnant of Odile itself will directly come into the southwest states.

Ironically, last week's torrential downpours would have been more of the random, scattered type, if that fluky nighttime complex of thunderstorms hadn't erupted early last Monday morning, and it happened right over a large metro area (Phoenix). 

So in comparing last week and this week, it's not as simple as this week's rainfall being more focused, and it's hard to know how the details of impacts will compare. 

But regardless, with a big, and at least somewhat concentrated, blob of moisture and rainfall coming, so is another significant flood threat. 

One other difference to note is that whereas last week a bunch of dry air came into New Mexico and suppressed the rainfall there (on the graphic above), this time there's more confidence that that won't be the case, so NM is in play, and in general the whole wet zone looks like it'll set up a bit east of where it was last week.  We'll watch future model runs to see if there's any trend which changes that, as the outcome is still a few days away. 

And a similarity ... just as eventually some of Norbert's mid-upper level moisture got pulled all the way to the Midwest ahead of a cold front, some of Odile's could too by this coming Saturday.  Some models even have a bit of Odile's remnant spin aloft making it all the way there.


A lot of thunderstorms are percolating offshore of Mexico to the southeast of Odile, with a high probability of organizing into at least a tropical depression or storm.

Like Odile and other recent eastern Pacific systems, this one is on a track to stick closer to land rather than making a beeline out to sea, perhaps close enough to continue brushing the coast.   FWTW, latest model runs have it not too far from Cabo San Lucas by this weekend.

To the west, there's a system well southeast of Hawaii that is trying to organize. It is no immediate threat.


After hitting the Philippines, the satellite shows a large and formidable-looking swirl of the typhoon heading into southernmost China including Hainan Island and then northern Vietnam with torrential rain, strong gusty winds, and coastal surge/waves.

(MORE: Glossary of Tropical Terms | New NHC Storm Surge Maps)


Our live wall below has the latest updates from our hurricane experts and from coastal National Weather Service offices. No need to refresh, the latest updates will appear at the top of the wall. Time stamps on each post are in Eastern U.S. time.


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