While you may not be vacationing in the Baja this weekend, if you live in the Southwestern US and in the Central Plain States, Hurricane Blanca could be an impact next week.
Traditionally, most hurricanes that form in the Eastern Pacific, move to the west. However for the few hurricanes that move north across the Baja Peninsula, the remnants tend to move northeast bringing moisture into the southwestern US and in the Plains States. The graphic below from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) shows the traditional paths of hurricanes from 1949 through 2013.
Hurricane Blanca is currently located off the Mexico coast. A Visible Satellite picture from June 4th shows Blanca was was well off the Southern Mexican Coast.
As of the posting of this article on Friday June 5, the NHC is forecasting that Blanca will continue to move north and impact the Baja Peninsula Sunday and Monday.
Blanca is forecast to decrease in intensity as it moves further away from the above normal Pacific water temperatures and and into an area of cooler water as show in the graphic provided by NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory
Even as a weakening tropical storm, Blanca could still bring problems to the US as it will pull tropical moisture into the Desert SW and central Plains States. According to the US National Weather Service Office in Phoenix, AZ “southern Arizona experiences flash flooding indirectly associated with a tropical cyclone about once every two years, while an intact, albeit decaying, tropical depression or tropical storm moves across southern Arizona about once every five years.” In addition, they highlight that some of the most devastating flash flooding in southern Arizona since 1970 has been the result of a decaying tropical system moving across the region.
Other states including New Mexico, Texas and Colorado historically have been impacted by decaying tropical systems. The winds in upper levels of the atmosphere however direct where the moisture plume moves and which region of the country will be impacted. At this time, long range atmospheric models are showing that remnants of Blanca will slowly move to the north across Northern Mexico and into Southern Arizona early to mid next week. Then for late next week, the remnants will be pulled into another system that will move west into the central Rockies. The precipitation outlook for Wednesday, June 10th through Sunday, June 14th highlights a large area of above normal precipitation the Southwestern US and Central Rockies.
From a planning perspective, for those with interests in this part of the country, be aware that showers and thunderstorms will increase next week and with the tropical connection the potential for intense rainfall.