After slowly taking shape off the coast of Mexico early this week, Cristina rapidly intensified Wednesday night, reaching Category 4 status.
With Cristina joining Amanda as Category 4 hurricanes, this marks the earliest that two hurricanes have reached at least Category 4 status in the Eastern Pacific Basin since the beginning of the satellite era in 1966.
Now a major hurricane, Cristina is a relatively small but powerful hurricane located several hundred miles off the coast of Mexico, tracking toward the west-northwest at less than 10 mph.
Satellite image of Cristina from Thursday morning, courtesy of NOAA.
The combination of very warm ocean waters and low wind shear allowed Cristina to rapidly strengthen as it slowly moved farther from the Mexico coastline with sustained winds reaching 150 mph (240 kph). Cristina will remain in this favorable environment into Thursday night. As a result, Cristina is expected to maintain its strength over the next 12 to 24 hours.
Increasing wind shear will begin to weaken Cristina Friday as the hurricane continues to move toward the west-northwest. Interaction with cooler ocean waters over the weekend will then rapidly weaken Cristina, eventually causing Cristina to become a post-tropical low during the first half of next week.
Impacts on land from Cristina will be limited as the powerful hurricane will remain over the open Eastern Pacific for the duration of its life cycle. Even so, rough surf and dangerous rip currents will continue to batter parts of the Mexico coastline into Friday. Beaches from Acapulco to Puerto Vallarta as well as the southern Baja will be impacted.
As Cristina moves farther west this weekend, high surf and rip current risks will subside across the region, and no further impacts on land are expected.
Significant rainfall in the past week has helped produce near- to above-normal rainfall across much of India for the season.
After a slow start to the season, the East Pacific ocean has produced two named storms and another is possible in the upcoming days.
More than fell in Karachi from Tuesday into Wednesday than during the entire year of 2015.
Records are set to fall in the tropical western Pacific Ocean as the basin remains void of any tropical activity.
Severe thunderstorms and dangerous heat will be encountered from the Balkans to the Baltic states later this week.
A potent storm system will bring the threat for flooding and severe thunderstorms to a large part of Europe in the coming days.