Hurricane Roslyn Strengthens to Category 4 and Heads Toward Mexico
Hurricane Roslyn is expected to bring high winds and heavy rainfall to west-central Mexico as it passes near the Pacific Coast on Saturday, forecasters said.
People in the affected areas, which include the popular resort town of Puerto Vallarta and other coastal towns in Jalisco, Nayarit and Sinaloa, were urged to complete hurricane preparations because of strong winds. The hurricane is expected to make landfall on Sunday morning.
Roslyn became a Category 4 hurricane on Saturday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center, meaning its wind speeds were between 130 and 156 miles per hour. As of 8 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, the hurricane was about 90 miles southwest of Cabo Corrientes in Jalisco and moving north at 10 m.p.h., the agency said.
The center of the storm was forecast to move north, parallel to the southwestern coast of Mexico, during the day on Saturday before approaching west-central Mexico, where it was expected to make landfall along the coast of the Mexican state Nayarit on Sunday morning.
Although the hurricane could weaken Saturday night, Roslyn is expected to be “at or near major hurricane strength when it makes landfall on Sunday,” the National Hurricane Center said.
Las Islas Marias, an archipelago of four islands off Nayarit, and the area from Playa Perula in Jalisco north to Escuinapa in Sinaloa were under a hurricane warning, which is issued 36 hours ahead of the onset of tropical storm-force winds and means that hurricane conditions are expected. The area along the coast of Mexico from El Roblito to Escuinapa was also under a hurricane warning. People under a hurricane warning should take all hurricane precautions and be ready for evacuation orders. Hurricane-force winds were expected in this area by the afternoon.
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A hurricane watch, which is issued 48 hours ahead of anticipated tropical storm winds, was in effect from Escuinapa north to Mazatlán in the state of Sinaloa. The area could face hurricane conditions on Sunday, forecasters said.
A tropical storm warning was in effect from Playa Perula south to Manzanillo, where tropical storm conditions were expected on Saturday, and from Escuinapa north to Mazatlán, where tropical storm conditions were expected on Sunday.
The governor of the state of Jalisco, Enrique Alfaro, said on Twitter that school and tourism activities were being suspended in coastal cities through the weekend. Some 270 people had been evacuated from the town of La Huerta as a precaution, he said, and shelters had been set up there and in Puerto Vallarta.
Significant coastal flooding is expected near and east of where the hurricane makes landfall.
As of 8 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, Roslyn’s maximum sustained winds had reached 130 m.p.h. with even higher gusts. Forecasters expected the storm to strengthen more on Saturday and to become or be close to a major hurricane — that is, Category 3 or higher — when it makes landfall. The weakest major hurricane can damage homes and snap and uproot trees, while the strongest can destroy homes and cause catastrophic damage that isolates communities.
Forecasters warned that rain could lead to flash flooding and landslides in areas with rough terrain.
In Jalisco, rainfall of four to eight inches was expected, with a maximum of 10 inches along the northern coast. In the upper coast of Colima, western Nayarit and southeastern Sinaloa, rainfall of four to six inches was expected, with a maximum of eight inches. In Michoacán, the lower coast of Colima and Southern Durango, one to three inches of rain was expected.
Roslyn is expected to weaken rapidly after making landfall, as it moves through the mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental.
The links between hurricanes and climate change have become clearer with each passing year. Data shows that hurricanes have become stronger worldwide during the past four decades. A warming planet can expect stronger hurricanes over time and a higher incidence of the most powerful storms, though the overall number of storms could drop because factors like stronger wind shear could keep weaker storms from forming.
Hurricanes are also becoming wetter because of more water vapor in the warmer atmosphere. Scientists have suggested that storms like Hurricane Harvey in 2017 produced far more rain than they would have without the human effects on climate. Also, rising sea levels are contributing to higher storm surge, the most destructive element of tropical cyclones.