Aircraft reconnaissance, satellite pictures, and radar observations indicate that one-time hurricane Rina continues to weaken. As of 11 a.m., Rina has been downgraded to a tropical storm.

Region outlined in blue under tropical storm warning (National Hurricane Center)

Rina’s strongest winds, located in the northeast quadrant of the circulation, will likely remain offshore. With the center expected to pass near or over the island of Cozumel tonight, and very near the city of Cancun early tomorrow, NHC has posted tropical storm warnings (in blue) along the coast of the Yucatan from Chetumal to Progreso.

Water vapor image of Rina from this morning (NOAA)

The question is no longer whether or not sustained hurricane force winds make it onshore, but rather will there be any hurricane force (75 mph) gusts? I doubt it. But we shall see as the observations come in overnight tonight and early tomorrow morning.

While it is hard to imagine that Rina will pose a destructive wind threat at any coastal location, tropical storm force winds can generate power outages, down trees and result in minor damage

Rainfall estimate (accumulated through Saturday night) in centimeters predicted by the HWRF model forTropical Storm Rina (Florida State)

Aside from the rainfall, Rina’s expected landfall will pose additional hazards. NHC predicts that a dangerous storm surge is still likely. Water levels are expected to rise as much as 2-4 feet above normal tide levels along the immediate coast near and to the right of the track of the center, along with dangerous wave action.

Yet even with these potentially harmful impacts upcoming, the Yucatan sort of dodged a bullet. After all, Rina came from a place that has produced some of history’s most ferocious storms at precisely this time of year.

Webcams: Cozumel | Cancun

Hurricane Tracking Center