Tropical Storm Pamela a dangerous threat


As Tropical Storm Pamela swiftly strengthens over the exceptionally warm waters off Mexico's Pacific coast, a Hurricane Watch has been issued for the west-central coast.

On Tuesday night, Pamela is predicted to scrape the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula before making landfall in mainland Mexico as a hazardous major storm on Wednesday. 

Pamela was 455 miles south-southwest of Mazatlan, Mexico, at 11 a.m. EDT Monday, moving northwest at 8 mph with maximum winds of 65 mph and a central pressure of 995 mb.

With moderate wind shear near 10-15 knots, a moist environment, and very warm waters near 30 degrees Celsius (86°F), conditions were ideal for development.

An upper-level wind pattern with lower wind shear and improved outflow is likely to emerge Monday night through Tuesday morning, bringing even more favorable circumstances. 

Pamela is forecast to recurve to the northeast on Tuesday night, passing just south of the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula, in response to the steering impact of a trough of low pressure passing to its north.

The storm's core appears to be passing well south of Baja California, but the National Hurricane Center gave San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, on Baja's southern tip, a 3% chance of hurricane-force winds and a 46% chance of tropical storm-force winds in its 11 a.m. EDT Monday wind probability projection. 

The waters beneath Pamela will warm to a scorching 31 degrees Celsius (88 degrees Fahrenheit) as it hits the coast of mainland Mexico on Wednesday morning - over one degree Celsius above typical.

This ocean warming is due in large part to a recent heat wave that has brought near-record temperatures to western Mexico.

Warm water extends to a significant depth throughout parts of Pamela's course, with a total ocean heat content in excess of 100 kilojoules per square centimeter, a figure often linked with hurricane strengthening. 

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