After forming late Sunday off the Baja California coast of Mexico, Genevieve has rapidly intensified from a tropical storm to a Category 4 hurricane.
Genevieve, with winds of 130 mph, is now tied with Hurricane Douglas as the strongest storm of the 2020 season in the East Pacific.
Hurricane Genevieve could even surpass Douglas as it continues moving through an environment that will favor additional strengthening for another 24 hours.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the storm was centered about 300 miles south-southeast of the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula. The hurricane is moving to the northwest at 12 mph.
Impact to Baja California Peninsula
While Hurricane Genevieve isn’t expected to make landfall along the Baja California Peninsula, it will pass about 100 miles offshore Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
Hurricane-force winds remain very close to the center, only extending outward about 30 miles, but tropical storm-force winds extend for 150 miles. For this reason, Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings are in place for the southern Baja California Peninsula.
In addition to tropical storm-force winds, several inches of rain are expected in this area and large waves will impact much of the west coast of Mexico over the next several days.
Potential impacts to the Western US
The Western US is experiencing an incredible heat wave with record-breaking temperatures and dozens of fires scorching the terrain.
While Genevieve will remain well offshore and dissipate over the cooler waters of the Pacific by the weekend, storms that hug the Baja California Peninsula often lead to an increase in moisture over the Southwestern United States.
Residents would love for this to happen with this storm, unfortunately it doesn’t appear to be in the cards.
“There will be a slight increase in moisture and temperatures will come down a few degrees, but it will continue to be above average with the monsoon showers being few and far between Friday and Saturday,” CNN meteorologist Tom Sater said.
Pacific overshadows Atlantic for now
On Monday morning, Genevieve was a tropical storm with winds of 65 mph. By Tuesday afternoon, its winds reached 130 mph as a Category 4 hurricane. Because of warmer ocean temperatures due to climate change, meteorologists expect more storms undergoing periods of rapid intensification.
The East Pacific Ocean had been much quieter than average, even as the Atlantic has seen record amounts of early season activity.
With Hurricane Genevieve’s rapid intensification, the Pacific is now the area to watch, but the focus will likely switch back to the Atlantic very quickly.
The potential development of La Nina this fall is expected to keep activity down in the East Pacific while the Atlantic continues to break records.