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.
Former Typhoon Halola pulled off the rare feat of forming in the central Pacific Ocean and surviving the trek across the western Pacific bringing impacts to Japan and South Korea.
Recent snowfall across parts of southeast Queensland has been called the most significant snowfall across the region in 30 years.
It has been more than two years since a storm brought more than 25 mm (1 inch) of rainfall to Santiago, Chile, and that streak is expected to finally come to an end this weekend.
As heat continues across Spain, little change in the weather pattern could result in one of the longest heat waves in Madrid's history lasting right into August.
Historic heat has built across a large portion of Europe over the past week with more on the way for some areas.
The semifinals of the Women's World Cup will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday as four teams battle for a spot in the finals.