First Tropical Depression of Season May Brew in Eastern Pacific, Eye Acapulco

By , Senior Meteorologist
May 7, 2014; 1:13 AM ET
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AccuWeather.com meteorologists are monitoring an area of the East Pacific for a potential tropical development this week. The usual hurricane season in the East Pacific begins on May 15, but conditions are favorable this year for an early start.

An area of disturbed weather, currently about 900 miles southwest of Acapulco, Mexico, will attempt to become better organized this week as it moves to the northeast.

Thanks to warmer-than-usual sea surface temperatures attributable to a developing El Nino in the East Pacific and a lack of disruptive winds above the sea surface, there is a chance that this area of disturbed weather will acquire tropical characteristics.

According to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski, "Steering winds will direct the zone of showers and thunderstorms associated with the disturbance toward the middle of the Mexican Riviera with a threat for excessive rainfall and potentially strong wind for this area, including Acapulco."

Kottlowski stated that there is a slight chance for showers and thunderstorms to become better organized prior to making landfall in Mexico.

The first name on the list of Eastern Pacific tropical cyclones for 2014 is Amanda.

A storm system now moving into the western United States and Mexico will create a southwesterly steering flow for this system. This means that any potential tropical cyclone in this area will likely track toward southwest Mexico.

Regardless of strength, heavy rainfall will be the greatest threat from this storm. Areas from Manzanillo to Huatulco remain at greatest risk.

Some areas, including those around Acapulco, are still recovering from feet of rainfall that caused widespread flooding and deadly mudslides in September when Tropical Storm Manuel made landfall along the coastline near Manzanillo.

Manuel brought devastating impacts to both the tourist and agricultural industry of the region. An early start to the hurricane season combined with an expected El Nino, which tends to result in more tropical storms in the Eastern Pacific, could have major impacts on the region once again.

This image shows the sea surface temperatures over the East Pacific near Mexico in the area of concern off the Mexican Riviera. Water temperatures are generally 28-29 degrees Celsius, or 82-85 degrees Fahrenheit, in the area where a tropical cyclone may form and move this week.

The track of this potential storm will play a role in how intense it can get. The waters in this area are running 2-3 F (1-1.5 C) warmer than usual for this time of year, in the low to middle 80s F (28-29 C). However, the warmest waters and the greatest depth of warm waters are found over the southern end of the Mexican Riviera.

Therefore, should the storm track toward Acapulco or especially toward areas southeast of there, it has the potential to be stronger than if it were to track more toward Manzanillo or points to the northwest where waters are cooler.

At this point, residents of the Mexican Riviera and others with interests in the area should keep in touch with further developments and make sure that early preparations for the hurricane season are complete by midweek.

Meteorologists Eric Leister and Alex Sosnowski contributed to this story.

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