Hurricane Hilary’s Power May Explode in Hot Ocean: Weather Watch

A powerful storm building strength in the eastern Pacific Ocean is on Bloomberg Green’s radar today.

(Bloomberg) — California, the US Southwest and northern Mexico are in for heavy rain and high winds starting this weekend as Hurricane Hilary builds in strength and moves north in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

Warm water will likely cause Hilary to rapidly intensify into a major hurricane in the next two days, with winds of at least 130 miles per hour, making it a Category 4 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, the US National Hurricane Center said. It will weaken before making landfall in Mexico’s Baja California, but will continue into the US Southwest and likely Southern California at tropical storm strength through Monday.

“The environment is ripe for Hilary to rapidly intensify during the next couple of days,” Robbie Berg, a forecaster at the center, wrote in a forecast analysis.

Rapid intensification means a storm’s winds increase in intensity by at least 35 mph in 24 hours. Some researchers say climate change is making these events more likely as oceans are forced to absorb more heat. The phenomenon is dangerous because a storm exploding in strength can take coastal residents by surprise leading to more deaths, injuries and destruction.

As much as seven inches of rain could fall across parts of Southern California and its mountains through the next five days, according to the US Weather Prediction Center.

In other weather news:

Atlantic: Forecasters are watching three potential systems, two are far from land and little immediate threat. The third is a broad area of low pressure in the Gulf of Mexico that has 20% chance of becoming a storm.

Canada: Wildfires have forced an evacuation of Yellowknife, the capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories.  Officials with the territorial government told residents in the highest-risk areas to evacuate immediately. Other residents have until 12 p.m. local time on Friday to leave the city of about 20,000.

Smoke: Wisconsin and Minnesota have issued air quality alerts as smoke from Canadian wildfires drifts south. Alerts are also up across Canada, including Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the Yukon, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada. In addition, air quality across the Great Lakes, including Toronto, Buffalo, Cleveland and Chicago is listed as moderate.

Europe: Temperatures are rising across the continent as wildfires destroy parts of a Spanish island and Germany issued red alerts for widespread thunder storms.

–With assistance from Danielle Bochove and Derek Decloet.

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