Natural Disasters

Mexico braces for flash floods, landslides as Hurricane Orlene barrels in

Orlene is expected to pass Mexico’s Islas Marias islands before its landfall on the coast of mainland Mexico

 
By Arya Rohini
Published: Monday 03 October 2022
 Mexican mainland’s coast from San Blas to Mazatlán and the Las Islas Marias is under a hurricane warning. Photo: A screengrab from https://earth.nullschool.net/
 Mexican mainland’s coast from San Blas to Mazatlán and the Las Islas Marias is under a hurricane warning. Photo: A screengrab from https://earth.nullschool.net/ Mexican mainland’s coast from San Blas to Mazatlán and the Las Islas Marias is under a hurricane warning. Photo: A screengrab from https://earth.nullschool.net/

Hurricane Orlene, a hazardous Category 3 storm, is likely to bring torrential rainfall to Mexico’s southwest coast, the United States’ National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned October 2, 2022.

Hurricane Orlene barreled towards the country’s Pacific coast between the tourist destinations of Mazatlan and San Blas, prompting authorities to establish shelters.

Category 3 storms are hurricanes with wind speeds of 178-208 kilometres per hour.

Orlene, with maximum sustained winds of 185 kilometres per hour, is expected to pass Mexico’s Islas Marias islands before its landfall on the coast of mainland Mexico October 3, 2022.

“Weakening is expected during the next day. However, Orlene is forecasted to be a strong hurricane when it passes near or over Islas Marias and remain a hurricane when it reaches southwestern Mexico,” the NHC noted.

The Mexican mainland’s coast from San Blas to Mazatlán and the Las Islas Marias is under a hurricane warning. A hurricane watch is in place from Playa Perula to San Blas and from Mazatlán to Bahia Tempehuaya on the coast of mainland Mexico, including Puerto Vallarta.

Flash flooding and potential landslides could result from torrential rainfall in places with mountainous terrain, the NHC added.

In certain areas, it may bring rains that could cause flooding up to 25 centimetres. Puerto Vallarta shut down its port to all boat and ship activity as coastal flooding is also expected.

Orlene could result in “mudslides, rising river and stream levels, and flooding in low-lying areas,” according to Mexico’s National Water Commission.

They categorised Orlene as a minor storm with hurricane-force winds of around 20 km and a tropical storm force of 95 kilometres.

The eastern Pacific has formed 15 named storms so far this year. The Pacific hurricane season starts on May 15 and lasts through November 30, according to the NHC.

Orlene was one of five named storms that developed last month. Tropical Storm Kay landed on the Baja California peninsula in early September and attained hurricane status. Orlene was upgraded from tropical storm to hurricane October 1, 2022.

Climate change has made hurricanes more powerful and wetter over the past forty years. Increased storm surges are a result of rising sea levels.

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