Skip to comments.Hurricane Kenna grows to Category 4; likely to hit Mexican mainland
Posted on 10/24/2002 3:10:27 PM PDT by HAL9000
PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico, Oct 24, 2002 (AP WorldStream via COMTEX) -- Hurricane Kenna on Thursday grew into one of the strongest hurricanes to menace Mexico's Pacific coast in decades. Forecasters urged urgent emergency action in an area that includes major tourist resorts, though the storm was veering away from a Baja California summit of world leaders.
"This is a potentially devastating hurricane if it comes in at this intensity or even if it weakens a little bit," said Ed Rappaport, deputy director of the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.
"Based on the records, which go back 40 or 50 years, this would be one of the two or three strongest" hurricanes to hit Mexico's Pacific coast if it does not weaken substantially, Rappaport said.
By midday Thursday, had sustained winds of nearly 150 mph (240 kph). It was centered about 300 miles (485 kilometers) southwest of Cabo Corrientes, the tip of land that juts into the Pacific south of the tourist resort of Puerto Vallarta.
A hurricane watch was posted for a 200-mile (360-kilometer) area between Cabo Corrientes and Mazatlan, another tourist center. A tropical storm watch extended another 125 miles (200 kilometers) southeast from Cabo Corrientes to Manzanillo.
Kenna, which had been moving to the northwest earlier, was headed to the north at 9 mph (15 kph), but forecasters said it was expected to veer to the northeast and crash into the coast.
Mexican troops and civil defense workers began alerting coastal communities on Thursday and preparing for possible evacuations.
Forecasters said Kenna could bring 6 to 10 inches (15 to 25 centimeters) of rain and possible flash floods, as well as storm surge flooding of 6 to 10 feet (2 to 3 meters) above normal tide levels and large, dangerous battering waves.
Leaders of Pacific Rim nations were gathering for a weekend summit in Cabo San Lucas at the tip of the Baja California Peninsula. While forecasters said the storm was veering away from the peninsula, they said people there should continue to monitor it.
Rappaport said other strong hurricanes that have hit the coast included a 1959 storm that struck near Manzanillo, though he said some evidence throws questions on the figure of 160 mph (260 kph) given for its winds. It reportedly killed 1,000 people.
Madeline, a 1976 storm came ashore near Zihuatanejo with winds of 144 mph (230 kph).
Other deadly eastern Pacific storms of recent years have include Pauline in 1997, which killed at least 230 people along the coast near Acapulco, Ismael in 1995, which killed more than 90 in the Gulf of California, and Liza in 1976, which killed an estimated 435 near the tip of the Baja California Peninsula.
Copyright 2002 Associated Press, All rights reserved
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIAMI FL
2 PM PDT THU OCT 24 2002
...KENNA NOW A CATEGORY FIVE HURRICANE...
PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION.
A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE SOUTHWESTERN COAST OF MEXICO FROM MAZATLAN SOUTHWARD TO LA FORTUNA...INCLUDING ISLAS MARIAS. A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA...GENERALLY WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM SOUTH OF LA FORTUNA TO MANZANILLO. A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA...GENERALLY WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
INTERESTS ALONG THE SOUTHERN BAJA CALIFORNIA PENINSULA SHOULD CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF KENNA.
AT 2 PM PDT...2100Z...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE KENNA WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 17.8 NORTH...LONGITUDE 108.7 WEST OR ABOUT 270 MILES...440 KM...SOUTHWEST OF CABO CORRIENTES MEXICO.
KENNA IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTH NEAR 10 MPH ...17 KM/HR. A TURN TO THE NORTHEAST WITH SOME INCREASE IN FORWARD SPEED IS EXPECTED OVER THE NEXT 24 HOURS. ON THE FORECAST TRACK...THE CENTER OF KENNA IS EXPECTED TO CROSS THE COAST IN THE WARNING AREA TOMORROW AFTERNOON. CONDITIONS ALONG THE COAST WILL BEGIN TO DETERIORATE WELL IN ADVANCE OF THE TIME OF LANDFALL.
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