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After two landfalls in Mexico, Newton moves into Arizona as a post-tropical cyclone

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After hitting Baja California and Sonora, Mexico as a Category 1 hurricane, Newton is now a post-tropical cyclone located over Arizona, United States. There was no major damage in Baja California, but the storm killed at least 2 people when a fishing boat capsized in the Gulf of California. The boat reportedly ignored warnings against going out to sea. Three people from the boat are still missing.

Hurricane “Newton” made two landfalls in Mexico, the first in the southern part of Baja California on September 6 as a Category 1 hurricane. The storm uprooted trees and shattered windows in the Los Cabos resort, popular with US and Canadian tourists. However, there was no major damage and the Odile scenario of September 2014, when six people lost their lives, was not repeated. President Enrique Pena Nieto said Newton caused only minor damage in infrastructure, and there were no injuries.

Los Cabos civil protection director Marco Antonio Vazquez said the storm caused a large swell that sank a shrimp fishing boat between the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean. Two people have lost their lives and three are still missing. The two bodies washed ashore on a beach.

Vazquez said the boat had ignored warnings against going out to sea.

“Newton’s winds took down trees and tin roofs from poorer neighborhoods, but a disaster was averted because the hurricane passed through rural, sparsely inhabited areas,” Vasquez added.

Before Newton became a tropical storm, it caused heavy rain and flooded 1 400 homes in Guerrero state, leaving three people dead in Chiapas.

The second landfall occurred over Mexico’s Sonora on September 7. At the time of its second landfall, Newton had winds of 110 km/h (70 mph). After that, it quickly weakened into a tropical storm and moved into southeastern Arizona as a remnant low.

Newton dumped 75 to 150 mm (3 – 6 inches) of rain along Mexico’s western shoreline with local amounts approaching 300 mm (12 inches), resulting in flooding and mudslides.

At 21:00 UTC on September 7, the center of Post-Tropical Cyclone “Newton” was located over southeastern Arizona, about 65 km (40 miles) SSW of Tucson and 40 km (25 miles) WNW of Nogales. It had maximum sustained winds of 55 km/h (35 mph) and the minimum estimated central pressure of 1 008 hPa.

There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect. Wind advisories are in effect for portions of southeastern Arizona and flash flood watches are in effect for southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico.

Newton is moving toward the NNE near 30 km/h (18 mph). A turn toward the NE is expected before the remnant low dissipates within the next 8 – 12 hours.

Gusts to tropical storm force are still possible over portions of southeastern Arizona through this evening, especially in areas of high terrain. Wind speeds atop and on the windward sides of hills and mountains are often up to 30 percent stronger than the near-surface winds, and in some elevated locations could be even greater.

Newton is expected to produce additional rain accumulations of 25.4 to 50.8 mm (1 to 2 inches) across portions of southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico through tonight. Locally higher amounts up to 76.2 mm (3 inches) will be possible over higher terrain, NWS/NHC said in their last Public Advisory for this system. Future information on this system will be issued by the Weather Prediction Center.

Historically, only five storms have maintained tropical storm strength all the way to Arizona, according to the NWS.


Featured image: Hurricane “Newton” forecast track with 72 hours of rainfall accumulation ending 15:00 UTC on September 7, 2016. Credit: UW-CIMSS, NASA/TRMM, Google

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