Tropical Storm Lorena is strengthening as it approaches the coast of southwestern Mexico, where it poses a dangerous threat of flash flooding and mudslides.
Lorena is expected to continue intensifying over the next few days, likely becoming a hurricane as it brushes Mexico’s southwestern coast through Thursday.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has issued a hurricane warning from Punta San Telmo to Cabo Corrientes, Mexico. This means hurricane-force winds (74-plus mph) are expected somewhere within the warning area – in this case, within the next 24 hours.
A tropical storm warning has also been posted from Zihuatanejo to Punta San Telmo, Mexico, and from Cabo Corrientes to Punta Mita, Mexico. This means tropical-storm-force winds (39-plus mph) are expected somewhere within the warning area. The NHC said watches may be required for a portion of the southern Baja California Peninsula later Wednesday evening or Wednesday night.
Lorena is forecast to move near or over Mexico’s southwestern coast within the hurricane warning area through Thursday. It is then predicted to move west-northwestward away from the western coast of Mexico late Thursday and Friday and approach the southern Baja California Peninsula Friday night and Saturday.
Tropical-storm-force winds are expected within the tropical storm and hurricane warning areas within the next few hours, then are expected to spread northward along the coast through Thursday night. Hurricane-force winds could arrive within the hurricane warning area as early as later Wednesday evening and will spread northwestward through Thursday.
Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion. The NHC says 5 to 10 inches of rain is expected from Lorena – with isolated amounts up to 15 inches possible – along coastal portions of the Mexican states of Guerrero, Michoacan, Colima and Jalisco. This rainfall could produce life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides.
This system will also generate dangerous swells that will affect parts of the southwestern Mexico coast over the next few days. Those swells will likely cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.
While Lorena won’t have any direct impacts on the United States, it will send a surge of moisture into the Desert Southwest beginning Friday, continuing into early next week. This could lead to an uptick in showers and thunderstorms across that region, but exact details remain uncertain.