Hurricane Rina has changed little in the past 12 hours, but is right on the cusp of being a major hurricane. The winds all night and into this morning were around 110 mph, a Cat. 2 (major hurricanes are Cat 3 and above, with winds of more than 110 mph). The satellite presentation looks pretty good, with the outflow clouds blowing out in a circle. That’s an indication to me that the storm is not being disturbed by any wind shear yet, and still has a good chance of strengthening a little further before it hits or brushes into the northern Yucatan Peninsula tomorrow. Cancun and Cozumel are under hurricane warnings right now. Rina has been crawling to the West this morning, but once it gets a little closer to the Westerly’s it should pick up it’s forward speed and bend towards Cuba or the FL Straights. The land interaction near Cancun, wind shear, and cooler water temps should buzz down the hurricane’s strength in about 36 hours, and that’s great news. The FL keys and Southern FL may start feeling the effects of this storm by the weekend, but by that time Rina should be down to a tropical storm. I’ll update you again tomorrow on the strength/path.
The other big story is the major snow storm over the Rockies. Denver (again, record high of 80F on Monday) has switched from rain to snow and could see around a foot pile up around the metro area by this evening! The storm itself should slide into the Plains tonight and take the snow with it, but rain and snow will also hit WY, NM, and the OK/TX panhandles. I’ll have the radar and warnings for you.