The eastern Pacific's Hurricane Amanda exploded into an intense category 4 hurricane last night with winds of 155 MPH. The storm's strength makes it the most intense hurricane ever recorded during the month of May in the eastern Pacific. Thankfully, Amanda poses no threat to land.
The hurricane entered an atmosphere conducive to rapid development, including an area of lower wind shear, warm sea surface temperatures above 84°F, and the development of an effective upper-level "anti-cyclone" (winds flowing clockwise), which acts like an exhaust fan for the hurricane to evacuate air and maintain strength.
Amanda unseats 2001's Hurricane Adolph (!) as the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the eastern Pacific during the month of May. They retired the name Adolph after that hurricane season for obvious reasons. It's a saving grace that most hurricanes in the eastern Pacific veer out to sea with virtually no impact to land, and that Amanda is no exception. It will quickly weaken over the next couple of days before dissipating completely by the end of the week.
Hurricane season in the eastern Pacific runs from May 15 until November 30th. The Atlantic hurricane season, which is predicted to be below average this year, begins on June 1.
[Images via CIMSS]