Monday, March 4, 2024

Tropical storm Kay strengthens to hurricane; heavy rains forecast in Baja California Sur and Sinaloa

Hurricane Kay, a Category 1 storm that was some 500 kilometers south of the tip of the Baja California peninsula as of Tuesday afternoon is forecast to bring torrential rain and strong wind to Baja California Sur and Sinaloa on Tuesday.

Kay, which strengthened into a hurricane on Monday, has already claimed three lives in Guerrero. As a tropical storm over the weekend, it damaged homes, toppled trees and caused rivers to break their banks.

As of 1 p.m. Central Time on Tuesday, Kay was 515 kilometers south of the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula, the United States National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in an advisory.

It said that the hurricane had maximum sustained winds of 140 kilometers per hour with higher gusts and was moving northwest at 22 kilometers per hour,  already producing rough surf on the southern Baja California peninsula and in southwestern Mexico.

National Hurricane Center map showing predicted wind arrival times as Kay passes over the Baja Peninsula.

“This general motion should continue through tonight,” the NHC said, adding that “a turn toward the north-northwest is expected on Wednesday, and this motion should continue into Friday.”

“On the forecast track, the center of Kay is expected to pass to the west of the southern Baja California peninsula on Wednesday, and be near the west-central coast of the Baja California peninsula Thursday and Friday,” the NHC said.

“… Weakening is forecast to begin by Thursday, but Kay is forecast to remain a strong hurricane when it passes near the Baja California peninsula,” the advisory also said.

The National Meteorological Service (SMN) said in a statement Tuesday morning that Hurricane Kay would bring torrential rainfalls of 150–250 millimeters to Baja California Sur and Sinaloa on Tuesday. It warned of the risk of flooding and said that both states could expect “intense” gusts of wind and rough seas.

It also forecast intense rainfall of 75–150 millimeters in Chiapas, Durango, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Puebla, San Luis Potosí and Veracruz, but that predicted precipitation is associated with the Mexican monsoon rather than Hurricane Kay.

In Baja California Sur, Governor Víctor Manuel Castro Cosío announced that between 50 and 100 national Civil Protection personnel would arrive Tuesday to “strengthen prevention works in the entire state.”

Soldiers, state and municipal police and members of the National Guard are also contributing to the preparation efforts and are ready to carry out any required rescue missions.

Schools and other educational institutes in Baja California Sur and Sinaloa will remain closed while Kay remains a threat, authorities said.

Acapulco flooding from Tropical Storm kay
In Acapulco, Guerrero, heavy rains from Kay caused flooding that dragged 20 cubic meters of soil and 1,000 tonnes of trash onto city streets, according to municipal councilors.

In Guerrero, where Kay brought trees and electrical posts down, flooded homes and caused landslides next to highways, state Civil Protection chief Roberto Arroyo confirmed three tropical storm-related deaths.

With reports from Reuters, Excélsior and La Lista  

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