Karina weakens as it passes through wind shear

Jose Castro – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Honolulu, Hawaii, United States (4E) – The sixth hurricane of the 2014 Eastern Pacific season, codenamed Karina, was expected to be strong but was downgraded to tropical storm levels because of wind shear conditions. The storm’s path though is still unpredictable, as the wind shear would hinder its intensity. A westerly direction is the projected travel in the next five days.

It is forecasted that by next week, the storm may hit another disturbance now forming in its southwestern area or another one from the east. Whatever happens, the storm is still too far off from Hawaii, 2200 miles away to be exact.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the said storm was located 770 miles west-southwest of Baja, CA. It was tracked at a speed of 12 mph with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph, which is still quite strong in terms of tropical storm levels.

The center has been issuing advisories once a weather system into the Central Pacific area. It is now at 1,000 miles southeast of the Hawaiian Big Island. There is now a 0% chance of becoming a tropical cyclone within the next couple of days. The forecast has been extended to a 30% chance of becoming a cyclone in the next five days.

Forecasters said, “Although shower and thunderstorm activity has changed little during the past several hours, gradual development of this disturbance is expected during the next few days and a tropical depression could form by late Friday or Saturday.”

This is due to the formation of an irregular low pressure area located 900 miles of southeastern Hilo, Hawaii. Barring any other environmental conditions that may occur, the system may result in the strengthening of the storm as it moves in west to northwest direction.

The Eastern Pacific hurricane season had predicted between 14 and 20 named storms, as well as 11 hurricanes are expected to hit the area. Of the 11 hurricanes expected, between three and six of them are to be major hurricanes. The center has placed odds on the 2014 season, with 50% of being above normal, 40% of being near normal and 10% being below the forecasted weather pattern.

The season began last May 15 and is expected to end by November 30.

Just last week, Tropical Storm Iselle hit Hawaii late last week. Before that, Hurricane Julio had passed near the northern part of the islands earlier in the week. Julio has since been downgraded to a post tropical cyclone travelling at a speed of 2 mph on a northeasterly direction.

Aside from Karina, the hurricane center is also observing a low pressure area currently being formed in the southwest of the southern tip of Baja peninsula in California. Should this system develop, a new forecast may be issued including a tropical cyclone warning in the next five days.

This season is expected to be busy and the past week is consistent with that forecast. The cause of a busy hurricane season is the development of the El Nino conditions in the waters near the Pacific Ocean, especially near the equatorial region.

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