Hurricane Sandra, Rare Late November Hurricane; Tropical Storm Warning Issued for Mexican Coast
Hurricane Sandra has now entered its expected period of rapid weakening after becoming the latest major hurricane on record early Wednesday evening. This rare late-season hurricane, while quickly weakening, may brush Los Cabos, Mexico, then limp ashore in mainland Mexico this weekend, prompting the issuance of a tropical storm warning.
Here is the latest information on Sandra:
- Location: About 280 miles south-southwest of Mazatlan, Mexico
- Movement: Steadily north-northeast. Sandra’s circulation will remain southeast of Cabo San Lucas late Friday night, then should move into Sinaloa, Durango or Chihuahua states Saturday.
- Intensity: Sandra is Category 2 hurricane, but rapid weakening has begun after getting caught up in the subtropical jet stream. Sandra should weaken to a tropical storm or depression before making landfall in mainland Mexico early Saturday.
- Tropical storm warning issued: For part of the Mexican Pacific coast, including Mazatlan. This means tropical storm-force winds (mainly in gusts) are expected by early Saturday. The earlier tropical storm watch for the southern Baja peninsula, including Los Cabos, has been dropped.
- Impacts: Despite this weakening trend, locally heavy rain and flash flooding are possible in the above-mentioned Mexican states where Sandra limps ashore. Some moisture from Sandra may also pump into a heavy rain event in the southern Plains of the U.S.
Rarities and Records
- Sandra became the latest Category 4 hurricane of record early Thursday morning in either the eastern Pacific or Atlantic basins.
- In other words, Sandra is the strongest hurricane so late in the season. Only three other eastern Pacific storms have formed later in the calendar than Sandra in records dating to 1949.
- Hurricane Sandra became the second latest forming hurricane on record, behind Hurricane Winnie in 1983.
- There is no record of an intact depression or named storm making a landfall on either Baja California or Mexico’s Pacific coast so late in the season. According to hurricane specialist Michael Lowry, the latest eastern Pacific landfall on record was Tara on November 12, 1961. So, Sandra is likely to shatter this record by over two weeks.
- The previous latest major hurricane in either the central-eastern Pacific or Atlantic was an unnamed storm in 1934, that remained a major hurricane into Nov. 23.
- The previous latest Category 4+ tropical cyclone in either the eastern Pacific or Atlantic basins was Hurricane Kenneth on Nov. 22, 2011.
- Sandra is the 30th Category 3+ tropical cyclone of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, far exceeded the previous record of 23 such storms in 1997 and 2004.