Hurricane Lidia Approaches Puerto Vallarta with Major Intensity
Hurricane Lidia, currently classified as a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of 185 kilometers per hour as of midday Tuesday, is on a collision course with a section of Mexico’s Pacific coastline, home to the renowned resort city of Puerto Vallarta. The United States National Hurricane Center (NHC), in its official statement released at 12 p.m. Mexico City time, has indicated that Lidia is expected to make landfall within the hurricane warning area, which stretches from Manzanillo, Colima, to El Roblito, Nayarit, during Tuesday evening or overnight.
This warning area encompasses the entire coastline of Jalisco, encompassing Puerto Vallarta, the northernmost coastal municipality within the state. Other municipalities within the hurricane warning zone include Cabo Corrientes in Jalisco and Bahía de Banderas, Compostela, and San Blas in Nayarit.
As reported by the Associated Press on Tuesday morning, Lidia is anticipated to make landfall around Cabo Corrientes before reaching the bay where Puerto Vallarta is situated, which may somewhat mitigate the storm’s impact. At midday, Lidia was located approximately 260 kilometers southwest of Puerto Vallarta, moving in an east-northeasterly direction at a speed of 24 km/h.
The NHC has projected a faster east-northeast motion to persist through the night, with Lidia’s maximum sustained winds having increased to nearly 185 km/h, along with higher gusts. The NHC further forecasts additional strengthening, anticipating Lidia to attain or approach major hurricane strength before making landfall, followed by rapid weakening once it moves inland.
The center said that hurricane conditions were expected to reach the warning area later on Tuesday afternoon.
“A faster east-northeast motion is expected through tonight,” the Florida-based forecaster said, adding that maximum sustained winds had increased to near 185 km/h with higher gusts.
“Additional strengthening is forecast, and Lidia will likely be at or near major hurricane strength when it reaches the coast. Rapid weakening is expected after Lidia moves inland,” the NHC said.
The NHC also said that tropical storm conditions were expected this afternoon between Punta San Telmo, Michoacán, and Manzanillo, and between El Roblito and Mazatlán, Sinaloa.
Lidia’s outer rain bands have already started to extend over portions of west-central Mexico, and weather conditions are projected to progressively deteriorate through the evening. The center of Lidia is expected to make landfall in west-central Mexico later tonight.
As mentioned above, Lidia has rapidly strengthened over very warm SSTs and in a favorable upper-level wind pattern during the past day or so. Since the environmental conditions are not expected to change, Lidia could reach category 4 strength before it makes landfall. Rapid weakening is expected once the center moves inland, and Lidia is forecast to dissipate on Wednesday over the rugged terrain of central Mexico.
- Lidia is on course to make landfall in west-central Mexico as a major hurricane this evening. Life-threatening hurricane-force winds are imminent within the Hurricane Warning area.
- The heavy rains accompanying Lidia are likely to result in flash flooding, urban flooding, and potential mudslides, especially in elevated terrain areas across the state of Nayarit, southern portions of Sinaloa, and coastal sections of Jalisco in western Mexico.
- A dangerous storm surge is expected along the coast of west-central Mexico, particularly near and south of Lidia’s landfall point. This surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves near the coast.
- Swells generated by Lidia will produce hazardous surf and rip current conditions along the western coast of Mexico and the Baja California peninsula over the next day or so.
FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS
INIT 10/2100Z 19.6N 106.6W 110 KT 125 MPH 12H 11/0600Z 21.2N 104.0W 70 KT 80 MPH…INLAND 24H 11/1800Z 23.2N 100.6W 30 KT 35 MPH…POST-TROP/INLAND 36H 12/0600Z…DISSIPATED