Aug. 19 (UPI) — Hurricane Genevieve weakened to a Category 1 storm Wednesday and was expected to bring severe weather conditions to parts of the shoreline in the coming days, forecasters say.
In its 6 p.m. Wednesday update, the National Hurricane Center located the storm about 85 miles south of the southern tip of Baja California, with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph with stronger gusts. It was moving north-northwest at 8 mph and was forecast to continue this general motion through Thursday as its speed decreases.
It’ll likely weaken to a tropical storm midday Friday off the coast of Mexico and further to a tropical depression as it nears the California coast.
The Mexican government issued a hurricane warning for the Southern Baja California peninsula from Los Barriles to Todos Santos and a tropical storm warning for the peninsula from Todos Santos to Cabo San Lazaro.
There was a tropical storm watch in effect for the east coast of the Baja California peninsula from Los Barriles to La Paz.
“On the forecast track, the center of Genevieve is expected to pass just to the southwest and west of the southern portion of the Baja California peninsula tonight and Thursday, and move away from the peninsula on Friday” the NHC said.
Genevieve has been churning up water along Mexico’s Pacific coast since it formed over the weekend. As the week progresses, tropical downpours and huge swells are in store along its path, as further strengthening is possible.
Favorable conditions, including very warm water and weak wind shear in the area, are acting to fuel the monster of a storm. A huge eye was visible on satellite images on Tuesday morning.
Genevieve was born first as Tropical Depression 12-E when it emerged in the warm waters just off the coast of El Salvador and Nicaragua Sunday morning. As a result of the favorable conditions in the area, Genevieve had strengthened to hurricane status just one day later.
The storm, though downgraded from a Category 4 hurricane, is expected to hold its intensity or even strengthen slightly through Wednesday before steadily weakening.
The only other storm to achieve major hurricane status so far in the East Pacific was Hurricane Douglas, which moved along the north side of the Hawaiian Islands in the central Pacific in late July.
Genevieve will not take a path similar to Douglas in the coming days, as the storm is expected to bring the bulk of the impactful weather to waters just west of Mexico’s Pacific coast.
Even on relatively tranquil days, the shore break along Mexico’s west coast can feature large waves, posing dangerous conditions for swimmers. As Genevieve churns just off the coast through the week, very large and dangerous swells are expected.
The hurricane’s most significant impact along the coast and waters offshore will be for dangerous surf and heavy seas. Large breaking waves can lead to substantial overwash along the coast with the risk of coastal flooding and damage to vessels.
Forecasters say outer bands of Genevieve will bring tropical downpours to coastal cities in the coming days, posing a threat for flash flooding and mudslides. Cities in line to possibly deal with wet weather from Genevieve include Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta and all areas in-between.
As the storm continues to parallel the coast, it will begin to track into cooler water off Baja California, into late week. This interaction will undoubtedly begin a weakening trend of the hurricane, but that doesn’t mean the impacts will end there.
The storm’s exact track through this weekend and into early next week is still unclear, but it is possible that some of the residual moisture from the storm could stream into the West Coast of the United States. Along with a potential influx of moisture, increased swells, especially across Southern California, will be possible early next week.