Tropical Storm Aletta forms far off Mexico’s Pacific coast, no threat

May 15th, 2012 - 9:26 pm ICT by BNO News  

MIAMI, FLORIDA (BNO NEWS) — Tropical Storm Aletta formed far off Mexico’s Pacific coast on Monday evening, making it the first tropical storm of the Eastern Pacific hurricane season, forecasters said. Some further strengthening is likely but Aletta is not expected to become a hurricane.

Forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) have been following the weather system since early Saturday when it emerged south-southwest of Acapulco, a major sea port on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. It slowly became better organized over the weekend and became a tropical depression on early Monday, before strengthening into a tropical storm hours later.

As of 2 a.m. PDT (0900 GMT) on Tuesday, the center of Aletta was located about 640 miles (1,025 kilometers) south-southwest of Manzanillo, a municipality in the Mexican state of Colima which is also home to the country’s busiest port. It is moving toward the west at a speed near 9 miles (15 kilometers) per hour.

Maximum sustained winds of Aletta have increased to near 40 miles (65 kilometers) per hour, with higher gusts, making it a weak tropical storm. Aletta is likely to strengthen throughout Tuesday and Wednesday but should then gradually begin to weaken, becoming a remnant low by the end of the week.

“Intensity guidance continues to indicate only modest strengthening through 24 hours before increasing southwesterly vertical shear begins to impede any further development,” said U.S. Navy Hurricane Specialist Dave Roberts. “The official intensity forecast is a compromise of the LGEM (Logistic Growth Equation Model) and SHIPS (Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme) models, suggesting gradual weakening beyond the 48 hour period and dissipation by day 5.”

Little change in motion and forward speed is expected on Tuesday and Wednesday, keeping it far from any land as it continues to move westward. After Wednesday, an approaching mid to upper-level trough from the northwest is expected to slow down Aletta as it weakens back to a tropical depression.

Tropical Storm Aletta is the first tropical cyclone of the 2012 Eastern Pacific hurricane season, which was officially due to start on Tuesday. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is expected to release a detailed forecast for this year’s hurricane seasons later this week.

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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