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NASA spots Hurricane Dolores over Socorro Island

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

IMAGE

IMAGE: On July 15 at 17:55 UTC the MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite captured this visible image of Hurricane Dolores in the eastern Pacific. view more

Credit: Credits: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team

Hurricane Dolores moved over Socorro Island on July 15 as NASA's Terra satellite passed overhead. On July 16, the island was still feeling the effects of Dolores.

Socorro Island is a small volcanic island in Mexico's Revillagigedo Islands. Socorro is about 370 miles (~600 kilometers) west of the west coast of Mexico. There is a naval station on the island.

On July 15 at 17:55 UTC the MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite captured a visible image of Hurricane Dolores in the Eastern Pacific Ocean that showed the western quadrant of the storm moving over Socorro Island. Dolores' eye was still visible, although it had become mostly cloud-filled at the time of the image.

On July 16 at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Dolores was located near latitude 19.9 North, longitude 111.8 West. Maximum sustained winds remain near 115 mph (185 kph) with higher gusts. Dolores is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported that gusts to tropical storm force were still occurring on Socorro Island a couple of hours ago but should continue to diminish during the day.

Dolores was moving toward the northwest near 7 mph (11 kph). NHC forecasts a west-northwestward to northwestward motion with some increase in forward speed through early Saturday. The estimated minimum central pressure is 960 millibars.

Dolores is still generating rough surf along the southwestern coast of Mexico as it continues to pull away from land. Swells generated by Dolores are affecting portions of the coast of southwestern Mexico and Baja California Sur. These swells could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

Gradual weakening is expected to begin later on July 16. At 11 a.m. EDT on July 16, NHC's forecaster Berg noted that Dolores has another 24 hours or so before it reaches sea surface temperatures cooler than 26.6 Celsius (80 Fahrenheit) needed to maintain the storm. Berg said that given the hurricane's structure, only gradual weakening is anticipated in the short term.

After that, Dolores is forecast to move through colder water which will sap the convection (rising air that forms the thunderstorms that make up a tropical cyclone). The storm will also move into an area with increasing vertical wind shear (winds that can tear a storm apart) and into drier air, which will also limit or prevent thunderstorm development. The extended forecast calls for Dolores to become a remnant low pressure area by July 21.

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