Raymond, the first major hurricane to form in the eastern Pacific this season, is sitting, spinning and soaking sections of the water-logged west coast of Mexico.
As of 11 a.m. EDT (8 a.m. PDT), Raymond was positioned 160 miles west-southwest of Acapulco and was stationary. It has maintained its 120 mph maximum sustained winds that it acquired Sunday, classifying it as a category 3 hurricane.
A hurricane warning covers the area from Tecpan de Galeana north to the port of Lazaro Cardenas. To the south, a tropical storm is in effect from Acapulco to Tecpan.
Because Raymond is a relatively compact hurricane with tropical storm winds extending just 70 miles from the center, rain is a bigger concern than wind for the affected coastline.
Acapulco has already received almost 3 inches of rain from Raymond, with more on the way. Writes the National Hurricane Center:
RAYMOND IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 2 TO 4 INCHES WITH ISOLATED AMOUNTS UP TO 8 INCHES OVER THE MEXICAN STATE OF GUERRERO AND MICHOACAN.
The region is particularly vulnerable to flash flooding after Tropical Storm Manuel drenched the region in September.
Manuel caused devastating flooding and mudslides that killed 169 people and caused $4.2 billion in damages.
“According to EM-DAT, the International Disaster Database, this was the second most expensive weather-related disaster in Mexican history, behind the $6 billion in damage (2013 dollars) wrought by Hurricane Wilma in October 2005,” notes Weather Underground’s Jeff Masters.
Raymond should not produce the rainfall output of Manuel, but local officials are busily preparing for additional flooding problems.
“Mexican authorities rushed to deploy emergency crews and said they were considering ordering evacuations of low-lying areas,” the Associated Press reports. “About 10,000 people already were living away from their homes a month after Manuel inundated whole neighborhoods and caused landslides that buried much of one village.”
Raymond is forecast to meander for another 36-48 hours, before heading westward, away from the coast. Warns the National Hurricane Center:
REGARDLESS OF THE EXACT TRACK OF THE HURRICANE AND HOW CLOSE IT GETS TO THE COAST...HEAVY RAINFALL WILL CONTINUE OVER SOUTH-CENTRAL MEXICO DURING THE NEXT FEW DAYS...CAUSING LIFE-THREATENING FLASH FLOODS AND MUD SLIDES.
Minor fluctuations in its intensity are expected into Wednesday, before a gradual weakening commences.
Prior to Raymond’s formation, there had been no major hurricane in both the eastern Pacific and Atlantic basins for the first time since 1968.
In the Atlantic, tropical depression 13 formed this morning in the central Atlantic. As it is forecast to modestly strengthen, it may earn the name Tropical Storm Lorenzo later today or tomorrow. It is expected to remain over the open ocean, and is no threat to land areas.