Hurricane Hilary Latest: Storm Strengthens to Category 4

Since we checked in yesterday, Hurricane Hilary has grown in strength to become a Category 4 storm as it approaches southwestern Mexico. The U.S. National Hurricane Center revealed the storm has become more powerful, with top winds of 135 miles (215 kilometers) per hour. That’s an increase from 105 mph yesterday.

At the time of writing, Hilary is approximately 70 miles south-southeast of Acapulco, and it’s moving at 9mph in the wrong direction, as far as Acapulco is concerned – north-northwest.
Late on Thursday evening, the National Hurricane Center stated:

“Some additional strengthening is possible on Friday. The core of Hilary will continue to move parallel to the southwest coast of Mexico, but any deviation to the north of the track could bring stronger winds to the coast.”

According to the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, Hilary’s top wind speed of 135mph has pushed it to Category 4 (image via Wikipedia):

The Mexican government has issued a tropical storm warning that covers the area from Lagunas de Chacahua to Punta San Telmo. A tropical storm has been posted from Punta San Telmo to the coastal resort of Manzanillo, and as much as 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain may fall in some areas.

Hilary might be strong, but the good news is it’s a relatively small storm – its hurricane strength winds (74mph or higher) currently extend to only 25 miles from its core.

In other gusty news, Tropical Storm Ophelia (with winds between 50 mph and 65 mph) was about 820 miles east-southeast of the Leeward Islands by Thursday evening. That’s moving west at 12mph, and is expected to miss Puerto Rico and head into the mid-Atlantic.