Hurricane Jimena intensifies off Mexican coast

Monday, August 31, 2009

5-day forecast track of Jimena.
Image: NHC.

Hurricane Jimena has quickly intensified into a powerful Category 4 hurricane off the coast of Mexico in the Pacific Ocean.

Dave Roberts, a forecaster for the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said "There's a good chance this system could be a Category 5 in the next 24 hours". The storm is expected to move northwestward, threatening the Baja California peninsula over coming days. "There's no watches or warnings in effect, but we would like residents and tourists in the area to monitor the progress of the storm", said Robbie Berg, another hurricane specialist.

Jimena formed just a few days ago, and rapidly strengthened into a dangerous cyclone. Maximum sustained winds within the system are estimated at 140 mph (220 km/h), with even higher gusts. A small storm, Jimena is currently moving towards the west-northwest at 7 kt.

The NHC recently issued a statement saying "Interests in western mainland Mexico and the southern Baja California peninsula should monitor the progress of Jimena. A hurricane watch may be required for portions of the southern Baja California peninsula later today or tonight."

Jimena is the 10th named storm of the 2009 Pacific hurricane season.