(NASA, adapted by CWG)

It was the second Category 4 hurricane to form in four days in the eastern Pacific Ocean, exploding from a tropical storm to major hurricane in just 24 hours. Then, the storm named Bud fell apart just as fast.

Hurricane Bud is now Tropical Storm Bud. In a single day, from 11 a.m. Tuesday to 11 a.m. Wednesday, its peak winds dropped from 125 mph to 60 mph.

The National Hurricane Center attributed the “rapid” weakening to “significant upwelling of colder water beneath the cyclone.” This cool water robbed energy from the storm, and its towering thunderstorms could no longer sustain themselves.

The Hurricane Center described “a pronounced erosion of the deep convection” in the storm’s inner core. The upwelling of cold water resulted in the sea surface temperature cooling five degrees in the storm’s wake.

Bud is forecast to further weaken. Even so, it is still headed toward the southern part of Baja California, including Cabo San Lucas, where a tropical storm warning is in effect. The Hurricane Center said it could produce tropical-storm winds, several inches of rain, and dangerous surf for the region Thursday and Friday.


(National Hurricane Center)

Then, the storm is forecast to disintegrate altogether, although some of its moisture will be drawn into the parched desert of the southwestern United States, which desperately needs it.

Bud had reached its peak intensity early Tuesday morning, with maximum winds of 130 mph, briefly making it a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Between Sunday and Monday morning, the storm had explosively intensified, its peak winds increasing from 65 to 120 mph — a 55 mph increase in 24 hours.

Bud became the second straight storm in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean to rapidly strengthen from a tropical storm to a major hurricane, rated at least Category 3.

The storm before it, named Aletta, also spun up and then down at breakneck speed. Its peak winds increased from 70 mph Thursday morning to 140 mph Friday morning. And then they decreased from 125 mph Friday evening to 60 mph by Saturday evening. Aletta dissipated Monday and never influenced any land area.