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View of Kenneth (13E) at Hurricane Strength – November 26th, 2011

12.4N 112.5W

November 26th, 2011 Category: Image of the day, Tropical Cyclones

Hurricane Kenneth (north) - November 21st, 2011

Enhanced image

Hurricane Kenneth (south) - November 21st, 2011

Track of TS 13E - November 26th, 2011 © Univ. of Wisconsin

Track of TS 13E

The main images show Kenneth (13E) at hurricane strength on November 21st, south of Mexico, while the animated imagery shows the system today, weakened to a tropical depression.

By November 19, a disturbance south of Guatemala had gained enough organization to be declared as a tropical depression, the thirteenth of the season. The following day, the depression continued to intensify, and was upgraded to a tropical storm, receiving the name Kenneth.

Rapid strengthening was observed on November 21, and Kenneth was upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane. Later that night, the hurricane became a Category 2 with 105 mph sustained winds. The next morning, Kenneth strengthened to become a strong Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 125 mph.

Rapid intensification continued and the storm was upgraded to a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 145 mph, just a few hours later, as Kenneth reached its peak intensity. The cause for this rapid intensification just days before the end of the season was unclimatologically low wind shear as well as unusually warm waters directly in Kenneth’s path.

However, Kenneth’s rare and astounding intensification was short-lived; immediately Kenneth moved into an environment of colder waters and stronger wind shear, and Kenneth started to rapidly deteriorate. Just 24 hours after Kenneth reached it’s peak strength, it dropped below hurricane strength and lost most of it’s central convection. Afterwards Kenneth weakened at a slower rate, but by November 25, Kenneth had weakened to a tropical depression, losing almost all of it’s convection. Early on November 25, Kenneth weakened to a remnant low, with its circulation void of any strong convection.

Tropical Storm Kenneth (13E) South of Mexico

15.2N 103W

November 21st, 2011 Category: Tropical Storms

Mexico - November 20th, 2011

A small part of Tropical Storm Kenneth can be seen south of Mexico in the lower left corner of this image. According to forecasters, it is the latest-forming tropical cyclone in the North Pacific east of 140°W since Tropical Depression Twenty-Two-E on November 24, 1987, as well as the latest forming named storm since Winnie in 1983. Since 1949, only a total of three storms are known to have formed later than this, the others being Sharon in 1971 and an unnamed storm in 1951.

Early on November 16, an area of disturbed weather formed several hundred miles to the south of the southern coast of Guatemala. For the next 3 days, the disturbance moved towards the west, as it gradually organized, displaying intense thunderstorm activity at times. By November 19, the disturbance had gained enough organization to be declared as a tropical depression, the thirteenth of the season. The next day, the depression organized enough to become a tropical storm, and earned the name Kenneth.

As of 1 p.m. PST (2100 UTC) November 20, Tropical Storm Kenneth was located within 40 nautical miles of 11.5°N 105.6°W, about 525 mi (845 km) south of Manzanillo, Mexico. Maximum sustained winds are 35 knots (40 mph, 65 km/h), with stronger gusts. Minimum central pressure is 1005 mbar (hPa; 29.68 InHg), and the system is moving west-northwest at 11 kt (13 mph, 20 km/h). Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 115 miles (185 km) from the center of Kenneth.