Hurricane Odile (pronounced "oh-DEAL") is a category four hurricane this afternoon with winds of 135 MPH. The storm is on a direct path towards the Baja California, and the worst winds are expected to rake much of the peninsula over the next few days.
The track that Hurricane Odile is forecast to take brings the eye of the storm just off and paralleling to the western coast of the Baja California peninsula. This track is pretty bad for the nearly 700,000 people who inhabit the Mexican state of Baja California Sur, as this track will drag the most intense portion of the hurricane's eyewall over land for an extended period of time; not only does this track expose residents to winds greater than 100 MPH, but it keeps the eye over water, preventing the hurricane from undergoing too much weakening.
Even if the track of the storm stays just offshore, the entire peninsula is still in the cone of uncertainty—meaning that the hurricane's eye could travel anywhere within the cone—and tropical storm and hurricane force winds extend well away from the storm's eye. A slight jog to the east in Odile's path could result in colossal damage to Cabo San Lucas and surrounding areas.
Thankfully, Odile will move into an area unfavorable for strong storms (due to drier air and colder water), and the storm will rapidly begin to weaken after Monday. It's worth noting that residual moisture from the system could extend up into the southwestern United States next week, setting up an atmosphere similar to (but not as extreme as) what we saw with the remnants Norbert last week.
Storm Surge: Odile's current track shoves much of the system's destructive storm surge into the southern tip of the peninsula, which is where heavily-visited Cabo San Lucas is located. The hurricane's current forecast track (or a slight shift to the east) could spell disaster for the popular tourist destination.
Wind: As mentioned, the hurricane's forecast track rakes much of Baja California Sur with hurricane force winds for 12+ hours as the system approaches the region tonight and lasts through midweek.
Rainfall: The latest advisory from the NHC says that much of the peninsula can expect 5 to 10 inches of rain, with some areas seeing upwards of 15 inches of rain where winds run up against terrain.
Since Odile is so close to land, the NHC will issue advisories on the storm every three hours. The next intermediate advisory (basically a position update) for Odile comes out at 200PM/1100AM PDT, with the next full forecast coming out at 500PM EDT/200PM PDT.
[satellite image via NASA, map by the author]