In just under 24 hours, a weak tropical depression blossomed into a Category 1 hurricane Monday in the Western Caribbean. Rina became the 6th hurricane of this busy season and its in no hurry to go anywhere. Here are the 4 pm coordinates from the National Hurricane Center:
Located about 150 miles southwest of Grand Cayman Island, Rina is feeding off very deep and warm water in the Western Caribbean. There is also very little steering Rina, so it has a chance to get even stronger. The official track shows it growing to Category 3 strength by Wednesday, raking the popular Yucatan resorts of Cozumel and Cancun through the end of the week:
After that, Rina will meander off the western tip of Cuba possibly entering the eastern Gulf of Mexico. The same cold front that will sweep across Texas Thursday will steer Rina away from our part of the Gulf. At least one computer model tonight indicates that Rina could dodge the front altogether and still be around by the beginning of next week. The chances of it heading our way, though are very slim.
Hurricane season typically peaks in mid-September, but the season doesn't end until the end of November. While late season storms are fairly rare, in recent years, we've seen quite a few. During the record-setting year of 2005, Wilma became the storm with the lowest measured pressure ever, before slamming into South Florida on October 24, 2005. Two years later, Noel hop-scotched across Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas around Halloween. In 2008, nearly two months after Ike ravaged Texas, Paloma became the second strongest November hurricane reaching Category 4 strength impacting the Cayman Islands and Jamaica. Then in 2009, Ida exploded near the Yucatan Peninsula before steaming toward Mobile, Alabama in the first week of November. Last year, three hurricanes formed after October 15: Richard, Shary and Tomas; impacting Central America and the Caribbean.