Hurricane Amanda was expected to weaken as it drifted out into the Pacific Ocean, but instead the storm system surprised forecasters by gaining a burst of power Tuesday morning.
The hurricane peaked at sustained winds of 155 miles per hour on Sunday, and all forecasts had indicated that it would weaken as the system churned up cold water that would deflate its strength. But instead Hurricane Amanda regained strength and moved back up to Category 3 status, reaching sustained winds of 120 miles per hour.
The rally did not last long, and within a few hours the hurricane had dropped back to Category 2.
The sudden strength of Hurricane Amanda has some residents worried that this hurricane season may be particularly active. The Pacific hurricane season just started on May 15 — the Atlantic hurricane season does not start until June 1 — and Hurricane Amanda was the strongest May hurricane since reliable records were kept in the mid 1960s.
Pacific hurricanes only rarely hit land, with the majority moving away from the Mexican and Californian coasts toward the Pacific Ocean, but some are worried that the surprising strength could be a sign of things to come.
Forecasters have offered a bit of relief, looking at the storm as a one-off in what is expected to be a light hurricane season.
The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season was one of the lowest on record, and despite Hurricane Amanda’s strength, forecasters thing 2014 will follow suit.
Forecasters with The Weather Channel predicts “11 named storms, including five hurricanes, two of which are predicted to attain major hurricane status (Category 3 or stronger on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale).”
“The early dynamical model runs suggest another relatively slow season,” said Dr. Todd Crawford, chief meteorologist for Weather Services International (WSI), a part of the The Weather Company. “Three independent statistical techniques all suggest 11 named storms this year.”
But the predictions do not look at whether the storms will actually make landfall, forecasters note.
“It is important to note that our forecasts are for the total number of storms that may occur anywhere within the Atlantic Ocean, and do not attempt to predict the number of storms that will make landfall in the U.S.,” said Dr. Peter Neilley, vice president of Global Forecasting Services at WSI.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Amanda is expected to continue growing weaker and by Thursday morning become a tropical storm.