Monday, October 10, 2011

Powerful Hurricane Jova Eyeing Mexican Coast (Pacific Side)...

Above is the latest visible satellite image of Hurricane Jova. You can see the eye of the hurricane, which was located about 195 miles Southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico as of 4pm CDT.  The infrared satellite images below show the structure around the eye even more clearly:

Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 125 mph, and a minimum surface pressure of 28.20 inches of mercury was recently observed by a hurricane hunter aircraft.

Jova has turned toward the Northeast at 7 mph, and this general motion is forecast to continue overnight and early Tuesday.  During the day Tuesday, the system is forecast to turn more toward the North.  The latest National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecast brings the center of Jova onshore late Tuesday evening, very near the city of Manzanillo.  

With sustained winds of 125 mph, Jova is now a "Major" hurricane, and is forecast to impact land with maximum sustained winds near 135 mph, and with higher gusts.  The potential for damage will be widespread in the states of Colima and Jalisco beginning late Tuesday afternoon, and peaking on Tuesday evening and early Tuesday night.

If the center makes landfall to the Northwest of Manzanillo, strong winds will push a very dangerous storm surge up into the Bay with potentially devastating impacts to the area:

If the center were to make landfall closer to the city, or in the bay itself, the barrier island to the Southeast of town would be hammered with the bulk of the storm surge and high wave action:

While the 1st storm surge scenario would be worse than the 2nd, neither would be good for this region, which hasn't seen a major hurricane make a direct landfall since the "sneak" hurricane of 1959 (which killed 1,000 people). Maximum sustained winds with that system were near 160 mph.  More recently, Hurricane Winfred made landfall near this region in 1992, but as a relatively weak category 1 storm.

Manzanillo is the busiest port in all of Mexico, and is home to the Mexican Navy's Pacific fleet.  Over 140,000 people live there according to the 2005 census.  Media reports indicate that the Mexican government is taking this situation seriously, and has already begun to open shelters and recommend evacuations.

***Editorial note:  Updates on Jova will be made via new posts.  Please be sure to check the homepage of the blog for updates...

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