MEXICO CITY (AP) — Hurricane Amanda rapidly gained force far off of Mexico’s Pacific coast on Sunday, growing into the strongest May hurricane on modern record for the Eastern Pacific, with sustained winds of up to 155 mph (250 kph).
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said the main body of the category-4 hurricane poses little threat to land, however. It was centered about 770 miles (1,240 kilometers) south of the southern tip of Baja California and forecasters said it was likely to start weakening while staying well out to sea, at least through Friday.
Even so, Mexico’s National Meterological Service said rains associated with Amanda were likely to drench much of western and central Mexico.
The previous May record for the region was held by Hurricane Adolph in 2001, which had sustained winds of up to 145 mph (230 kph). Earlier storms may have been stronger, but reliable records became possible with the start of the use of satellites in the mid-1960s.
The Eastern Pacific hurricane season officially starts on May 15. The Central Pacific and Atlantic seasons start on June 1.
Discussion and 48-hour outlook
At 8:00 a.m. PDT, 1500 UTC, the center of Hurricane Amanda was located near latitude 11.8 north…longitude 111.1 west. Amanda is drifting slowly toward the north near 2 mph, 4 km/h, and a general slow motion toward the north-northwest or north is forecast to occur through Tuesday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 155 mph, 250 km/h, with higher gusts. Amanda is a strong category four hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Little change in strength is expected today, with steady weakening expected to begin tonight and continue through Tuesday.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles, 45 km, from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles, 130 km.
The estimated minimum central pressure is 932 mb, 27.53 inches.