Hurricane Amanda Strongest Pacific Storm Ever In May, Could Drench Mexico

Hurricane Amanda was the strongest storm ever in the Pacific in the month of May. While it’s heading away from land, it could still cause a hassle for beachgoers in Mexico.

The system grew from a tropical storm late last week into the first named hurricane of the 2014 season. On Sunday it reached a peak of 155 mph winds, making it the most powerful storm to sweep through the Pacific in May since record-keeping began in the mid 1960s.

By Monday, Hurricane Amanda had weakened to about 120 mph and was continuing to move away from Mexico. The storm was centered about 670 miles south of the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, though it was close enough to cause some havoc on Mexican beaches.

Mexico’s National Meteorlogical Service predicted that storms associated with Hurricane Amanda were expected to drench western and central portions of the country. Mexican authorities warned people who live near the coast to prepare for possible flooding and mudslides.

The hurricane itself should continue to weaken, the Weather Channel noted, and the storm itself would actually cause the deceleration. Meteorologists noted that the storm would be stirring up waters beneath it, allowing cooler water to come to the surface that would weaken the storm. They also predicted that “increasing vertical wind shear and dry air will start to disrupt its circulation.”

Forecasters are hoping that the sudden strength of Hurricane Amanda won’t be a sign of things to come. The Pacific hurricane season generally poses no dangers to land, as the hurricanes move away from the Californian and Mexican coasts, but experts believe the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season will be quite active.

Forecasters from the NOAA are predicting between eight and 13 named tropical storms. The NOAA believes between three and six of these storms will turn into hurricanes, with one or two having the potential to grow to dangerous sizes of category 3 or greater. In all, there was a “a 50 percent chance of a below-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, and only a 10 percent chance of an above-normal season.”

But forecasters said that might be all it takes to bring a destructive storm to the Atlantic.

“Even though we expect El Niño to suppress the number of storms this season, it’s important to remember it takes only one land falling storm to cause a disaster,” noted Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., NOAA administrator.

Hurricane Amanda is expected to continue to weaken as it moves further out to sea.