Hurricane Aletta picks up steam, poses no risk to mainland

GETTYHurricane Irma wrecked havoc on Florida and the Caribbean last year

Aletta, the first tropical storm of the 2018 season in the Eastern Pacific Basin, is now moving west at around 7 miles per hour and will not be a threat to any land. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season runs from May 15 through November 30, with peak activity from July through September.

In order for a hurricane to qualify as a Category 4 storm, it would have to produce winds between 130 to 156 miles per hour, according to NASA, and Aletta seems determined to top that category. It was moving west-northwest at 6 miles per hour (9 kph).

The storm, located off the west coast of Mexico about 730 km west-southwest of Manzanillo at the time it became a hurricane, is expected to strengthen slightly through Saturday before it encounters cooler water and less-favourable atmospheric conditions.

Forecasters said the hurricane may gain more intensity before a combination of increased wind shear and decreasing ocean heat will cause Aletta to break down. A dome of high pressure over northern Mexico is steering Aletta away from land and forecasters expect it to continue its west-northwest track over the next few days.

Aletta was first named a hurricane on Thursday, June 7, which is over two weeks earlier than normal.

Forecasters said Aletta is now a Category 3 hurricane. If the disturbance earns a name, it will be called Bud. The first eastern Pacific hurricane forms on June 26 on average.

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