Baja California Needs to Keep Watch on Norbert’s Track

It’s going to be a close one for Baja California.

Norbert, the 14th named storm of the Eastern Pacific season, is forecast to track parallel to the Mexican peninsula’s western coast over the weekend as a Category 1 or Category 2 hurricane.

Even though Baja probably won’t take a direct hit, the strongest part of Norbert will be along that coast.

In the Northern Hemisphere, hurricanes rotate counter-clockwise. Norbert is also moving north-northwest, so as you look down on Norbert, with north at its top, the right-hand side of the storm will be its strongest flank. That’s the part that’s going to graze Baja.

To put it another way, if Norbert were a boxer, it would be stepping forward as it threw its right jab.

About 4.1 million people live on the peninsula, which is divided into two Mexican states. Baja California is in the north bordering the U.S., while the other half of the land mass belongs to Baja California Sur, home of Cabo San Lucas, one of Mexico’s largest tourist destinations.

What needs to be watched is how big Norbert gets and how close it comes to the coast. Any drift to the east of its current track would mean the Baja shoreline gets raked by high winds and pounding surf.

Likewise, if Norbert grows and extends its reach, the Pacific-facing coast of Baja will end up with the same result. Yesterday, winds of 39 miles (63 kilometers) per hour or more stretched 90 miles from the system’s core.

A tropical system gets a name when top sustained winds hit 39mph. A Category 1 hurricane’s winds range from 74 mph to 95, while a Category 2 storm starts at 96 mph and can grow to 110.

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