Hurricane Sandra has begun to weaken as of Thursday morning, after becoming the latest major hurricane on record early Wednesday evening. This rare late-season hurricane, while soon to weaken quickly, may brush Los Cabos, Mexico, then limp ashore in mainland Mexico this weekend.
Here is the latest information on Sandra:
Location: About 495 miles south of Los Cabos, Mexico
Movement: Curling north, then accelerating toward the north-northeast. Sandra may brush the southern Baja California peninsula near Cabo San Lucas early Saturday, then should move into Sinaloa, Durango or Chihuahua states later this weekend.
Intensity: Sandra is a major (Category 4) hurricane. It has begun to weaken and rapid weakening is expected to begin later Thursday after getting caught up in the subtropical jet stream. Sandra may weaken to a tropical storm or depression before brushing Cabo San Lucas, and could be a depression or even remnant low before ever making a landfall in mainland Mexico this weekend.
Impacts: Despite a later weakening trend, locally heavy rain and flash flooding are possible in the southern Baja California peninsula as soon as Friday and in the above-mentioned Mexican states where Sandra limps ashore Saturday. Some moisture from Sandra may also pump into a heavy rain event in the southern Plains of the U.S.
Rarities and Records
Sandra became the latest Category 4 hurricane of record early Thursday morning in either the eastern Pacific or Atlantic.
In other words, Sandra is the strongest hurricane so late in the season. Only three other eastern Pacific storms have formed later in the calendar than Sandra in records dating to 1949.
Hurricane Sandra became the second latest forming hurricane on record, behind Hurricane Winnie in 1983.
There is no record of an intact depression or named storm making a landfall on either Baja California or Mexico's Pacific coast so late in the season. According to hurricane specialist Michael Lowry, "If Sandra makes landfall as a tropical storm, it would be the latest landfall on record in the eastern Pacific."
The previous latest major hurricane in either the central-eastern Pacific or Atlantic was an unnamed storm in 1934, that remained a major hurricane into Nov. 23.
The previous latest Category 4+ tropical cyclone in either the eastern Pacific or Atlantic basins was Hurricane Kenneth on Nov. 22, 2011.
Sandra is the 30th Category 3+ tropical cyclone of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, far exceeded the previous record of 23 such storms in 1997 and 2004.