When will Hurricane Orlene reach the coast of Mexico?
After the destruction caused by Hurricane Ian last week, another tropical storm is expected to make landfall in the coming days.
A Category 3 storm named Hurricane Orlene is approaching the west coast of Mexico and is expected to make landfall on Monday, with storm surges, rainfall and high winds likely to begin on Sunday night.
On Sunday evening the system was around 85 miles south of Las Islas Maria, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). The storm was recording maximum sustained winds of around 115mph, at the lower end of the Category three band (111-129mph).
Earlier on Sunday the system had been upgraded to a Category 4 storm but has slowed as it approaches land. It is expected to make landfall just south of Mazatlán, Sinaloa, with officials from Mexico’s CONAGUA agency warning of life-threatening flash flooding.
In preparation for the hurricane the ports of Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta are closed to ships, and ports including Mazatlan, San Blas and Nuevo Vallarta are closed to small craft. Beyond the initial landfall forecasters predict that the storm will move towards a sparsely populated stretch of mainline where the risk to life is less severe.
Pacific hurricane season causes chaos
The Atlantic hurricane season surged into life last week with the destructive Hurricane Ian but the Pacific region has already experienced a number of significant storms this year. Orlene is the 15th named storm to form in the East Pacific, far outnumbering the amount recorded in the Atlantic.
Orlene was upgraded to hurricane status on Saturday, becoming the second Pacific hurricane in the past month. The previous one, Kay, hit the coast of the Baja California peninsula in early September.
Not only was this expected to be an above-average year for hurricanes, but researchers have found that hurricanes are becoming stronger worldwide. A four-decade study found that climate change is facilitating the conditions in which hurricanes are formed and making them more destructive.
A study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that the likelihood of a hurricane reaching Category 3 or higher has risen by about 8% per decade since 1979. Category 3 equates to a storm with sustained winds of more than 110mph.
“The trend is there and it is real,” said James P. Kossin, a researcher with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and lead author of the study. “There’s this remarkable building of this body of evidence that we’re making these storms more deleterious.”
Tropical storms often develop in oceans near to the equator because they are spawned by the warmer water. As waters around the world heat up the frequency and intensity of hurricanes is likely to increase too.