Tropical Storm Eugene forms in the Pacific, no threat to land

July 31st, 2011 - 10:25 pm ICT by BNO News  

MIAMI (BNO NEWS) — Tropical Storm Eugene formed far off the Pacific coast of Mexico on early Sunday morning, forecasters said, but the system poses no threat to land.

Forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) have been following the weather system since Wednesday evening when it emerged as an area of disturbed weather several hundred miles (kilometers) south of the coast of El Salvador and Guatemala. It rapidly became better organized on Saturday and developed into a tropical depression and then a tropical storm on Sunday morning.

“The cyclone continues to exhibit the structure of a sheared tropical cyclone in satellite imagery, with the center apparently near the northeastern edge of a deep circular mass of convection,” said NHC hurricane specialist Todd Kimberlain. “Nevertheless, the overall cloud pattern has become better organized during the last six hours, with cloud top temperatures cooling and the appearance of a new band over the western semicircle. Dvorak satellite estimates at 1200 UTC [..] suggested an intensity close to tropical storm strength. Since that time, the organization of the cloud pattern has continued to increase. The depression is therefore being upgraded to tropical storm Eugene.”

As of 8 a.m. PDT (1500 GMT), the center of Eugene was located about 410 miles (660 kilometers) south of Acapulco, a major sea port on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. It is moving toward the west-northwest at a speed near 10 miles (17 kilometers) per hour, a general motion which is expected to continue for the next couple of days.

Maximum sustained winds of Eugene are near 40 miles (65 kilometers) per hour, with higher gusts, according to forecasters. “Global models suggest that the shear should continue during the next several days, likely hampering significant intensification,” Kimberlain said. “Late in the forecast period, the shear could decrease some but Eugene will be reaching progressively cooler waters around that time. A weakening trend should commence then, possibly at a faster rate by day 5.”

And although significant strengthening is not forecast, NHC models show Eugene could become a category one hurricane on early Wednesday morning until it weakens back to a tropical storm on Thursday morning.

But as Eugene is located far from land, forecasters do not expect the weather system will pose a threat to anyone.

Eugene is the fifth named storm of the 2011 Eastern Pacific hurricane season, following Hurricane Dora which formed off the Pacific coast of Mexico earlier this month. As the system stayed far enough from land, Dora caused no damage or casualties.

According to figures released in May, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is expecting a below normal hurricane season in the Eastern Pacific this year. The outlook calls for 9 to 15 named storms, with five to eight becoming hurricanes and one to three expected to become a major hurricane (category 3 or higher).

An average Eastern Pacific hurricane season produces 15 to 16 named storms, with eight to nine becoming hurricanes and four becoming major hurricanes. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season runs from May 15 through November 30, with peak activity from July through September.

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