First Major Hurricane in the Eastern Pacific Ocean of 2014

On Monday, May 26 an image from NOAA's GOES-West satellite at 5:00 a.m. PDT showed that Hurricane Amanda's eye had become cloud-filled. The first tropical cyclone of the Eastern Pacific hurricane season grew into a major hurricane as Hurricane Amanda reached Category 4 status on the Saffir-Simpson scale over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. NASA and NOAA satellites watched as Amanda developed an eye while strengthening.

Fortunately, Amanda is far enough away from coastal Mexico that no watches or warnings are in effect today, May 27.

On Sunday, May 25, Amanda strengthened into the first Major Hurricane in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

Maximum sustained winds were near 155 mph (250 kph). Amanda was centered near 11.8 north and 111.1 west, about 770 miles (1,240 km) south of the southern tip of Baja California. Amanda is a Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Minimum central pressure was near 932 millibars, and Amanda was crawling to the north at 2 mph (4 kph). Visible imagery from MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) instrument aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite and NOAA’s GOES-West satellite captured imagery that revealed an eye in Hurricane Amanda.

On Monday, May 26, Hurricane Amanda started to weaken from its peak at a Category 4 status on the Saffir-Simpson scale. An image from NOAA’s GOES-West satellite at 1200 UTC/5:00 a.m. PDT showed that Amanda’s eye had become cloud-filled. Amanda’s maximum sustained winds were near 140 mph (220 kph) and the hurricane was moving to the north-northwest at 7 mph/ (11 kph). Amanda was centered near 13.1 north and 111.6 west, about 685 miles (1,105 km) south of the southern tip of Baja California.

MODIS image of Amanda
On May 25 at 2100 UTC/5 p.m. EDT the MODIS instrument aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this visible image that revealed an eye in Hurricane Amanda.
Image Credit:
NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team

On Tuesday, May 26 at 1500 UTC (11 a.m. EDT/8 a.m. PDT), Amanda’s maximum sustained winds were near 120 mph (195 kph). Amanda is a category three hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane wind scale.  Amanda was centered near 14.7 north latitude and 112.3 west longitude, about 585 miles (945 km) south-southwest of the southern tip of Baja California, Mexico. Amanda was moving to the north-northwest at 6 mph (9 kph) and had a minimum central pressure of 957 millibars.

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. created a composite image using rainfall rate data from NASA-JAXA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite and infrared imagery from NOAA’s GOES-West satellite to create a comprehensive look at Amanda. The infrared data showed the cloud extent, and the TRMM data showed heavy rainfall around Amanda’s center falling at 1.4 inches (35 mm) per hour.

The National Hurricane Center forecasts weakening during the next 48 hours. In fact, NHC forecasters expect Amanda to weaken to a tropical storm by Thursday.

Text credit:  Rob Gutro
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

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21 Responses to First Major Hurricane in the Eastern Pacific Ocean of 2014

  1. Joel O'Bryan says:

    As a really big heat engine transporting heat from the ocean surface waters to the upper atmosphere, Amanda’s brothers and sisters will be feeding off the EL Nino warming eastern Pacific waters through the summer. Sucking up that heat from the upwelling warm waters, making lots of clouds to reduce sunlight reaching the surface, and dumping the latent heat of condensation into the stratosphere as the rain fails across broad areas of SW US, the IR where it radiates off into space. The emergent property of that system is chaotic feedback-enabled homeostasis.

    Someone should tell Amanda and El Nino that a carbon tax is coming.

  2. Rud Istvan says:

    There went Trenberth’s hiding heat. A few more of these and this years ENSO won’t have the result he is publicly hoping for. And Amanda is real early for a Cat 4.

  3. Rick says:

    Just out of curiosity, does anybody know what the black dot with the long streamer/cloud behind it is to the north north west of the hurricane body? Stray pixel? Coincidence? Island coal fired power plant feeding the hurricane?

  4. Joel O'Bryan says:

    Rick:
    your black dot looks like Isla Socorro at N18.8 W111.0.

  5. AJB says:

    Joel O’Bryan says, May 27, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Looks like a little sister may be starting to spin up already …
    http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/overlay=mean_sea_level_pressure/orthographic=-160,-12,466

  6. Joel O'Bryan says:

    Thanks AJB.

    An interesting look at this is comparing an animation of the current surface winds:
    http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/overlay=mean_sea_level_pressure/orthographic=+120,+12,466

    With page 8 (Weekly SST Departures during the Last Four Weeks) NOAA’s weekly (26 May 2014) ENSO: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions PDF found at:
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf

    It’s just a SST heat driven convective engine. Each gram of water vapor that condenses to liquid in those clouds releases about 2.4 KJ (44 KJ/mole). That heat drives the spinning winds and clouds high into the tropical troposphere where outgoing longwave IR (OLR) sends the heat to space. Sayonara El Nino.

  7. Richard Lyman says:

    I just put this up in Tips and Notes before seeing this thread: http://entertainment.verizon.com/news/read/article/the_associated_press-hurricane_amanda_unexpectedly_restrengthens-ap
    It is very exciting to see a Pacific Storm barreling into the East Florida Coast.

  8. Richard Lyman says:

    Rats. The pic disappeared already. Fun while it lasted.

  9. agfosterjr says:

    Accuweather says it’s the earliest storm in the region of such strength (in the sat record, of course).
    http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/tropics-showing-signs-of-life-1/27406046
    Oh well, records are made to be broken–especially short ones. –AGF

  10. Gamecock says:

    Saffir-Simpson ?!?!

    That is so 20th century. Nobody uses that any more. Is Amanda a Superstorm? A Megastorm? A storm of the century? How big is it in Hiroshima Bombs? Could it beat Godzilla?

  11. Paul Coppin says:

    ” Gamecock says:
    May 27, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Saffir-Simpson ?!?!

    That is so 20th century. Nobody uses that any more. Is Amanda a Superstorm? A Megastorm? A storm of the century? How big is it in Hiroshima Bombs? Could it beat Godzilla?”

    It’s at least 1.5 SUs (or known as SPUs and sometimes SCCUs in the east, pronounced “skues).. SUs = Sandy Units, and the eastern variants Sandy Political Units, and the Sandy Climate Change Units. One Sandy Unit, real or imaginary, can beat a crappy old S-S unit any day. A cat 3 SS storm will mess up Florida and flood some estuaries (and NO), but a Cat 3 SU will flush Florida right into the Gulf of Mexico AND flood New York, and turn Cape Cod into just “Cod”..

    /sarc for the challenged…

  12. milodonharlani says:

    From the Extreme WX post:

    Bear in mind that storms were less detectable before satellites & measuring their intensity harder.

    Here are the number of lowest pressure WestPac typhoons by decade since 1951 (I know this post is about EastPac hurricanes, but WestPac is the region with greatest frequency of the most powerful tropical cyclones). Decades don’t correspond exactly to the recent warming period, often dated from 1977, but the figures below are indicative none the less.

    Decades of global cooling:

    1951-60: 6
    1961-70: 6

    Decades of transition:

    1971-80: 9
    1981-90: 9

    Decades of global warming & “plateau”:

    1991-2000: 2 (both in ’91, following one in ’90)
    2001-10: 1 (Megi, 2010)
    2011-20: 1 so far (Haiyan, of which much was made).

  13. Billy Liar says:

    Joel O’Bryan says:
    May 27, 2014 at 11:55 am

    I think it more likely is Isla Clarion 18.3°N 114.7°W.

  14. Retired Engineer John says:

    It is interesting to watch it on this animated wind flow map http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/orthographic=-112.59,0.65,1024

  15. Joel O'Bryan says:

    Billy says: I think it more likely is Isla Clarion 18.3°N 114.7°W.

    I stand corrected. You are correct. That dot with the white cloud streamer is Clarion.

  16. ralfellis says:

    This is the best wind animation on the web. Here it is centered on sea-level Atlantic winds, which are calm, but you can move it around the world.

    http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/orthographic=-55.39,24.41,531

    R

  17. Retired Engineer John says:

    Thanks ralfellis, that is a very good simulation. You can even see the high pressure region in the North Pacific associated with La Ninas and it is still active.

  18. Retired Engineer John says:

    Do you ever get the idea that the weather systems are really out of balance. The ACE, Accumulated Cyclone Energy, index is very low; yet, we have a cat 4 storm in May. We have a positive index for an El Nino; yet, we have the high pressure region associated with a La Nina. And look at all the cold weather in the US. What is happening?

  19. ren says:

    There is no longer a hurricane. Beheaded him the jet stream in stratosphere.
    http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/isobaric/70hPa/orthographic=-118.30,50.97,481

  20. ren says:

    The current situation in the eastern Pacific.
    http://oi62.tinypic.com/dwcqi1.jpg

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