Hurricane Aletta picks up steam, poses no risk to mainland

Infrared satellite view of Hurricane Aletta on the morning of June 8

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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