Published: Sun, June 10, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Hurricane Aletta a Category 4 storm in Pacific off Mexico

Hurricane Aletta a Category 4 storm in Pacific off Mexico

The center of the storm was located about 455 miles west-southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico.

The first tropical storm of the eastern Pacific hurricane season formed well off the coast of Mexico on Wednesday, but forecasters said it's not a threat to land.

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An SMN report said that at 10 a.m., Aletta "presented sustained maximum winds of 220 km/h and gusts of up to 270 km/h".

High surf, rip currents, and bands of rain may affect the coast.

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Centered just under 500 miles south of Mexico's Baja Peninsula, Aletta transformed from a tropical storm into a Category 4 hurricane in just 24 hours. Strengthening rapidly overnight, the storm was rated Category 4 by Friday afternoon as it continued to churn in the waters off the west coast of Mexico. This disturbance is now a cluster of storms, but is becoming better organized. Out in the Pacific, there are two tropical storms we're watching.

It's too soon to determine whether this second system will eventually pose a direct threat to parts of Baja California next week. Rapid weakening is then expected through the weekend. Aletta should strengthen over the next couple days before weakening back to a tropical storm midday Sunday and a tropical depression midday Tuesday.

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With the formation of Aletta, the hurricane season in the Eastern Pacific basin is off to an early start.

An average Eastern Pacific hurricane season produces 15 to 16 named storms, with eight to nine becoming hurricanes and four becoming major hurricanes.

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However, only one of these "A" hurricanes has reached Category 5 intensity, Hurricane Ava in June 1973, according to NOAA.

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