Hurricane Newton made landfall near Cabo San Lucas, Mexico early Tuesday morning, with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph according to National Hurricane Center (NHC) advisories. Media reports indicate at least two dead and three missing. The hurricane brought tropical storm to hurricane conditions for affected areas, with reports of downed trees and power lines and some light structural damage. Reported impacts are not as severe as those of Hurricane Odile, which struck the area in 2014 as a major hurricane.
Newton has since made second landfall in northwest Mexico and has weakened considerably while moving to the northeast. Newton is expected to bring tropical storm force winds and heavy rainfall to areas of northwest Mexico and the southwest United States today, with possible flash flooding and mudslides for affected areas.
Hurricane Newton track and position reports. Source: Guy Carpenter, National Hurricane Center.
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What was to be Hurricane Newton organized from a tropical low located near the southwest coast of Mexico the afternoon of September 4, at which time a tropical depression was first classified by the NHC. At 5 p.m. EDT (21 UTC) September 4, the tropical depression carried maximum sustained winds of 35 mph and a central pressure of 1005 millibars (mb), while moving over very warm waters and relaxing wind shear. The depression was upgraded to tropical storm status six hours later with winds of 40 mph (65 kilometers per hour) and a pressure of 1000 mb.
Tropical Storm Newton then strengthened rapidly, reaching hurricane status at 5 p.m. EDT (21 UTC) September 5, with winds of 75 mph (120 kilometers per hour) and a pressure of 987 mb. Hurricane Newton then reached its peak strength at 11 p.m. EDT Monday, September 5 (03 UTC Tuesday September 6) with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph (150 kilometers per hour) and a central pressure of 979 mb. Newton maintained intensity while approaching Baja California Sur.
According to NHC advisories, Hurricane Newton made landfall near Cabo San Lucas, Mexico around 5 a.m. EDT (09 UTC) Tuesday, September 6, with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph (150 kilometers per hour) and a central pressure of 979 mb. Newton made landfall as a strong Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. The hurricane had a large eye at the time of landfall, with hurricane and tropical storm force winds extending outward from the center to 40 miles (65 kilometers) and 205 miles (335 kilometers), respectively. At the time of landfall most of the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula was located inside the eye of Newton. An automated weather station located at San Lucas reported unofficial sustained winds of 78 mph (125 kilometers per hour), with gusts to 116 mph (187 kilometers per hour).
After making landfall, Newton crossed the southern Baja California Peninsula while losing strength due to land interaction. Newton later emerged into the Gulf of California as a weak hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kilometers per hour).
Newton then made final landfall on the mainland of northwest Mexico, just southeast of Bahia Kino around 5 a.m. EDT (09 UTC) September 7, with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph (110 kilometers per hour), and a central pressure of 988 mb, according to NHC advisories. At this time, Newton was classified by the NHC as a strong tropical storm. An automated weather station located well inland to the east of Bahia Kino reported unofficial sustained winds of 45 mph (72 kilometers per hour), with gusts to 64 mph (103 kilometers per hour).
Tropical Storm Newton has since moved well inland over the Mexican state of Sonora, and all coastal watches and warnings have been cancelled. Newton is expected by the NHC to move rapidly to the northeast and move into southeast Arizona later this afternoon. Newton should weaken rapidly during this time until it dissipates overnight.
Hazards expected by the NHC include possible tropical storm wind conditions over Sonora, Mexico and perhaps southeast Arizona, with higher wind gusts expected in higher elevations. Heavy rainfall should also affect areas of the state of Sonora with expected rainfall amounts of three to six inches and local amounts to 10 inches. Areas of Arizona and New Mexico should also expect heavy rainfall, with expected amounts of one to three inches and some locally higher amounts. Flash flooding and mudslides can be expected with these heavy rainfall amounts, especially in mountainous areas.
Media reports indicate at least two fatalities and three missing, believed to be the crew of a fishing vessel lost in the hurricane. Newton brought tropical storm to hurricane conditions with heavy rain to affected areas of the southern Baja California Peninsula. About 14,000 tourists sheltered without incident in hotel rooms in the Los Cabos resort area, with another 1,500 taking refuge in area shelters. Reported impacts include broken windows and some light structural damage, with downed trees and power lines. Power outages and some disruption to phone lines have also been reported along with some light infrastructure damage. Police efforts to suppress looting have resulted in at least five arrests in Los Cabos. Local airports were closed late Monday and area schools have been closed. Small craft were barred from using local ports due to the threat of storm surge. Impacts are not as severe as those of Hurricane Odile, which affected the area in 2014, according to media reports.
Downed trees have also been reported in La Paz, where 400 were evacuated from vulnerable areas. Before organizing into a tropical depression, the system also caused damage in south Mexico with flooding of at least 1,400 homes in the state of Guerrero, with at least three reported dead in Chiapas, according to media reports.
Sources: Reuters, Associated Press, National Hurricane Center, Agence France Presse, The Weather Channel.
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