The hot eastern Pacific hurricane season turned hotter early Tuesday.
Hurricane Bud became the second straight storm to reach Category 4 intensity following Aletta, which attained such strength Friday.
Bud has since modestly lost strength and dropped to a strong Category 3 as of the National Hurricane Center’s 11 a.m. advisory.
Packing winds of 125 mph, Bud is about 325 miles south of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, which it threatens to strike Thursday into Friday. By then, however, Bud is predicted to be substantially weaker, most likely downgraded to a tropical storm.
The storm is headed due north into cooler waters, and models simulate steady weakening over the next 48 hours.
The official National Hurricane Center forecast predicts Bud’s maximum sustained winds will drop to 70 mph by Wednesday night, which is below hurricane strength.
The track forecast brings the center of Bud closest to the southern tip of Baja California and the area around Cabo San Lucas from Thursday into Friday morning, when maximum sustained winds are predicted to be about 55 mph.
However, tropical-storm-force wind gusts (over 39 mph) could begin affecting southern Baja California as soon as Wednesday. Dangerous ocean swells and rip currents may commence Tuesday.
Heavy rain is likely to become the main hazard from the storm over Baja California and Mexico’s adjacent mainland coast. Computer models show the potential for 4 to 8 inches, with isolated amounts up to 10 inches.
What’s left of Bud is forecast to streak north over the Gulf of California and dissipate over the weekend. However, some of its moisture will likely get drawn north into the Southwestern U.S. desert.
The National Weather Service’s seven-day rainfall forecast for the Southwestern desert shows some areas receiving more than an inch, in large part thanks to this influx of tropical moisture.
Such rain would prove very beneficial, as much of this region is suffering from severe to extreme drought conditions.
On Monday, Bud became the second straight hurricane to attain at least Category 3 strength in a three-day span. The previous Friday, Aletta reached Category 4 intensity just to its northwest. Matt Lowry, a hurricane specialist at FEMA, tweeted that the duo represent one of 15 cases since 1949 of hurricanes this strong forming in such rapid succession.
As we wrote on Monday, both Aletta and Bud underwent what’s known as rapid intensification, transforming from tropical storms to major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher) in just 24 hours.
Aletta has since dissipated.