Hurricane forms off western Mexico
Miami (CNN) — A tropical storm strengthened into a hurricane Friday southwest of Mexico’s Baja California, not far from another that could rise to hurricane status soon, the National Hurricane Center reported.
The eye of Hurricane Irwin sat about 945 miles (1,525 kilometers) southwest of the peninsula’s southern tip, and was heading toward the west-northwest at a rate of 6 mph, according to an 2 p.m. PDT (5 p.m. EDT) advisory.
Steady winds were recorded at 90 mph — 5 mph stronger than those measured hours earlier — and the Miami-based center estimated that Irwin will strengthen even more “during the next day or so.” Hurricane-force winds at 74 mph or stronger extended up to 15 miles from Irwin’s center.
Another threat, Tropical Storm Jova, is further east in the Pacific Ocean, putting it closer to land. This system is “expected to become a hurricane” by Saturday, and then get even more powerful after that, the prediction center said. Jova’s sustained winds strengthened over the course of the day Friday and were 65 mph by the afternoon, as it headed toward the north-northwest at 8 mph.
Jova and Irwin are expected to execute a little dance over the next few days. The hurricane center predicts Jova, after heading north Saturday, will turn later in the day toward the northeast.
Irwin, meanwhile, will turn toward the north by Saturday and then, after barely moving as it waited for Jova to clear out of the way, pick up speed and head east on Sunday, also aiming at the central Mexican coast.
As of Friday afternoon there were no coastal warnings or watches in effect, and as always, the storms could end up taking a different path than current conditions indicate.
These developments came as another storm, Philippe, lost its hurricane status on Friday as it trekked across the open Atlantic.
By 5 p.m. EDT, it had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph, down 15 mph from just hours earlier.
The center of then now-tropical storm was located 645 miles east of Bermuda and was moving at 13 mph toward the east-northeast.
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