Hurricane John has developed something called a “pinhole eye,” which Chris Mooney declares “spooky“. I don’t know from pinhole cameras, but apparently this is a big deal, according to Chris:
The same thing happened when Hurricane Wilma put on a record burst of intensification last year, building up from a tropical storm into a Category 5 hurricane in just 24 hours.
The forecasters were more than a little surprised by Wilma’s intensification, and they seem surprised by John as well. At 8 am PDT this morning, they called the storm a Category 1 hurricane with 70 knot (or 80 mph) winds. In 12 hours, they predicted, it would be an 85 knot (or nearly 100 mph) Category 2 storm.
Well, instead, it’s now a 100 knot or 115 mph Category 3 storm, and they’re predicting 115 knots or 133 mph winds (weak Category 4) within 12 hours.
The latest model runs show John running up the coast of Mexico, with no agreement on weather it slams Baja or turns out to sea. The National Hurricane Center forecasters are going with the “turn out to sea” angle.
Chris alludes to the Great San Diego Hurricane of 1858. Michael Chenoweth and Chris Landsea wrote a fascinating paper a couple of years back in BAMS piecing together the storm’s story from old newspaper clippings and the like.