Tropical Storm Ivo strengthened slightly and veered closer to shore, prompting tropical storm warnings and watches along Mexico’s Baja California coast, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
Ivo, the ninth storm of the eastern Pacific hurricane season, was 265 miles (425 kilometers) south-southwest of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, at about 5 p.m. New York time with maximum winds of 45 miles per hour, up from 40 mph earlier, according to a hurricane center advisory. It was moving north at 6 mph.
“Tropical storm conditions are expected to spread across the southern Baja California Peninsula in the warning area tonight and Saturday,” the advisory said.
The storm may bring life-threatening surf and rip currents to the shore and as much as 5 inches (13 centimeters) of rain to parts of the Baja peninsula, according to the hurricane center. Ivo’s northerly track may mean drenching rains for the U.S. Southwest from southern California to Arizona after the storm breaks up early next week.
“The possibility is there for flash flooding and heavy rain,” said Bob Smerbeck, an expert senior meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. “We’re concerned for Phoenix, Las Vegas, Yuma and that whole Colorado River valley. It’s good to get the rain but it’s not good to get it too fast.”
Much of that area is suffering from severe drought.
Tropical storm warnings, meaning winds of at least 39 mph can be expected within a day, are in effect on the Pacific coast from Punta Abreojos to Cabo San Lucas and on the Gulf of California coast from Loreto to Cabo San Lucas.
A tropical storm watch is in effect from Punta Abreojos to Punta Eugenia on the Pacific coast, according to the center.
In addition to Ivo, forecasters are watching a disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico that has a 20 percent chance of becoming a tropical system in the next five days.
Conditions in the Gulf aren’t favorable for that system to strengthen, said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland.
“That blob in the Gulf is too weak and short-lived to cause any trouble,” Rogers said.
Smerbeck said the disturbance may bring some rain to Texas over the weekend. Air pressure in the Gulf is too high for it to become a tropical system, he said.