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1986 Pacific hurricane season

The 1986 Pacific hurricane season officially started May 15, 1986 in the eastern Pacific, and June 1, 1986 in the central Pacific, and lasted until November 30, 1986. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the northeastern Pacific Ocean.

Seasonal activity

Activity in the Eastern Pacific basin was above average. There were 25 tropical depressions, one short of the record set in 1982. There was only one Central Pacific-born cyclone, One-C. Six other cyclones, Estelle, Frank, Georgette, Depression Ten-E, Lester and Orlene all entered the Central from the East Pacific.


The number of storms this season was slightly above average. There were seventeen tropical cyclones reaching tropical storm strength, and six hurricanes. However, the number of major hurricanes was below average with three.

Hurricane Agatha

The 1986 Pacific hurricane season's first tropical disturbance formed 1390 kilometers from the tip of Baja California on May 20. By 0000 UTC May 22, the circulation began to come together and the Eastern Pacific Hurricane Center upgraded the disturbance into Tropical Depression One-E that morning. 48 hours after becoming a tropical depression, Tropical Depression One-E becomes Tropical Storm Agatha, the first storm of the season. Agatha made an abrupt change in direction, going towards the north. Agatha strengthened into a hurricane on May 25 near the coast of Mexico, peaking at 75 mph (115 km/h). Agatha changed direction again, towards the southeast. Agatha quickly weakened into a tropical depression, but regained strength on May 28 and May 29, until it dissipated that day.

Rainfall spread around both the Mexican coasts, peaking at 10¾ inches at Xicotepec de Juarez.

Tropical Depression Two-E

Tropical Depression Two-E was a short-lived cyclone, a lifetime of only 12 hours. The depression began as a disturbance on May 30 in the eastern Gulf of Tehuantepec. The disturbance became close to being stationary when it was upgraded to Tropical Depression Two-E on May 31. The depression began to weaken six hours later and the final advisory by the EPHC was released on June 1. Most of Mexico was poured on, with three inches (76 mm) totaling on Yucatán Peninsula. The worst rain was in central Mexico, where over rain fell, peaked at 18.63 inches in Tenosique. The rest of Mexico was hit by 1-3 inches of rainfall.

Tropical Storm Blas

Tropical Storm Blas formed on June 17 from a tropical disturbance that had originated the day before in the ITCZ. The disturbance moved at below a weak upper-level high, strengthening into the third tropical depression of the 1986 season. Winds reached 40 mph (60 km/h) on June 18, strengthening Tropical Depression Three-E into Tropical Storm Blas. It kept that strength for only 6 hours, weakening into a depression again as it moved into weaker waters. The EPHC ceased advisories on June 19 after Blas' convection dissipated. Blas did not affect land in any way.

Hurricane Celia

Five days after Tropical Storm Blas dissipated, a tropical disturbance formed south of the Gulf of Tehuantepec on June 24. Later that day, circulation had organized enough to upgrade the disturbance into Tropical Depression Four-E. Winds reached , upgrading the system into Tropical Storm Celia on June 26. Celia, off the coast of Mexico, strengthened into Hurricane Celia at 1800 UTC June 27. An eye became evident and Celia reached its peak intensity of 90 mph (145 km/h) on June 28 at 1600 UTC. Celia moved into much cooler water, weakening the storm rapidly. By June 30, Celia had become a tropical depression. The Eastern Pacific Hurricane Center released its final advisory on Celia at 1800 UTC that day as Celia was dissipating. During its life, Celia had passed by Socorro Island, however no damage was reported.

Tropical Storm Darby

Tropical Storm Darby, the fifth tropical cyclone of the season, formed as a tropical disturbance on July 2. Moving at about , the disturbance entered warmer water and strengthening rapidly. The disturbance became Tropical Depression Five-E at 1800 UTC July 3. Depression Five-E turned to the west-northwestward and strengthened into Tropical Storm Darby on July 5. Darby peaked at 40 mph (60 mph). The stormed continued northwest for about 6 hours, when it reached 25 °C waters and began to weaken. Clouds spread from Arizona and parts of California on July 6, soon before dissipating the 7th.

Hurricane Estelle

At midday on July 16, a tropical depression formed, and within 12 hours it strengthened into a tropical storm. On July 18, Estelle intensified into a hurricane, and located in a favorable environment, Estelle continued strengthening to become the first major hurricane of the season on July 20. The hurricane entered the CPHC's Area of Responsibility near its peak strength of . Estelle's forward motion increased to close to , resulting in the path of a potential landfall on the Big Island. Due to a shearing environment from a trough, Estelle weakened as it continued approaching Hawaii. A possible re-curve never materialized, and the cyclone continued its path towards the Hawaiian Islands. The hurricane veered to west and passed south of the islands. Estelle weakened to a tropical storm on July 23, and on the 25th it weakened to a depression. The storm dissipated two days later.

Due to its rapid motion, Estelle kept pace with a large swell of water that it generated. In combination with a high spring tide and peripheral winds generated by Estelle, huge waves crashed on the shores of the Big Island on the afternoon of July 22. The high waves washed away five beachfront homes and severely damaged dozens of others in Vacation Land. The total damage was around $2 million (1986 USD). On Maui, waves washed away a dirt road on the eastern part of the island between Kipahulu and Kaupo. After Estelle passed by the islands, moisture related to the tropical cyclone caused heavy rainfall in the Ka'u and Puna districts on the Big Island. After Estelle dissipated, its moisture became entrapped in a trough over the islands, causing significant rainfall and thunderstorms over the archipelago. The only deaths reported were two drowning on Oahu that occurred on July 23, due to rough surf caused by Estelle.

Estelle was a well-observed storm, with Reconnaissance Aircraft flying into the hurricane to provide a fix on its location. It also passed near NOAA Buoy 51004 on July 22, providing valuable meteorological data for its future path.

Tropical Depression Seven-E

Tropical Depression Seven-E began as a giant area of thunderstorms near the large Hurricane Estelle. It strengthened into Tropical Depression 7-E on July 17. Moving at about 12-13 mph, Depression Seven-E failed to intensify and peaked at 30 mph (50 km/h). Cool temperatures and the close distance to Hurricane Estelle were causes of Depression Seven-E to dissipate late on July 18.

Tropical Depression Eight-E

Tropical Depression Eight-E began over water on July 21 near 117°W. Eight-E slowed after turning to the west-northwest and dissipated on July 24. Tropical Depression Eight-E's peak winds were 35 mph (56 km/h). The minimum pressure however is unknown.

Hurricane Frank

Hurricane Frank began on July 24 near Latitude:11.300 / Longitude:-96.100. Winds were 29 mph (46 km/h). Hurricane Frank continued towards Latitude:22.100 / Longitude:-143.400 ending with winds of 35 mph (56 km/h) on August 3. Starting from being a Tropical Depression, Hurricane Frank became a Hurricane on July 30 with winds over 87 mph (140 km/h). The minimum pressure is unknown.

Tropical Depression Ten-E

Tropical Depression TEN-E had been a steady state tropical depression for about 3 days before moving into the Central Pacific. Tropical Depression TEN-E crossed 140 °W near 12 °N on July 27 at about 1000Z. A slow weakening began as the depression continued to move west at near 30 mph (45 km/h). By 301800Z near 12 °N near 148 °W, it had become poorly organized and on July 29 the final advisory was issued.

Tropical Depression One-C

Tropical Depression ONE-C was tracked westward along 11 °N at a fairly rapid forward speed of 35 mph (56 km/h) on July 27. The data are sketchy, but it is possible that ONE-C was formed from the remnants of Tropical Depression EIGHT-E, which had dissipated a few days earlier well to the east of 140 °E. Several radio reports from ship ABQJ on July 27 and July 28 were helpful in locating the depression's center. Tropical Depression ONE-C failed to develop past the depression stage. It passed well south of the Hawaiian Islands on July 28 with no noticeable effects on the Islands' weather. At 280000Z, it was dissipating to the southwest of the Hawaiian Islands and the final advisory was issued.

Tropical Storm Georgette

On August 3, a tropical depression organized in the open ocean. Twelve hours later, it strengthened into Tropical Storm Georgette before weakening to a depression 6 hours later. It then accelerated to a very rapid speed of 20-39 knots. Due to its fast speed, Georgette couldn't maintain a closed circulation, and the tropical storm degenerated into a non-cyclonic disturbance. The disturbance kept up its rapid forward motion, crossed the dateline, and entered the western Pacific.

Five days later, Georgette reformed into a depression. As was customary, it kept its name. It eventually strengthened into a minimal typhoon. It began a Fujiwhara interaction with the larger and stronger Typhoon Tip and was eventually absorbed by it.

Georgette is properly a typhoon because it never strengthened into a hurricane east of the dateline. The dissipation of a storm in the central Pacific and regeneration in the western Pacific is extremely uncommon. The next time this happened was with Enrique in 1991.

Tropical Depression Twelve-E

Tropical Depression Twelve-E formed near 21 °N 109 °W on August 12. It drifted slowly north-west until it dissipated near 22 °N 110 °W on August 14. Maximum sustained winds were estimated at 35 mph (56 km/h).

Tropical Storm Howard

Tropical Storm Howard on August 16 near Latitude:17.30 / Longitude:-104.30. Winds were 25 mph (40 km/h). Tropical Storm Howard continued towards Latitude:23.20 / Longitude:-115.20 ending with winds of 20 mph (32 km/h) on August 18. Starting from being a Tropical Depression, Tropical Storm Howard became a Storm on August 17 with winds over 35 mph (56 km/h). The minimum pressure is unknown.

Tropical Storm Isis

Tropical Storm Isis on August 19 near Latitude:15.40 / Longitude:-114.00. Winds were 25 mph (40 km/h). Tropical Storm Isis continued towards Latitude: 21.10 / Longitude:-135.10 ending with winds of 25 mph (40 km/h) on August 24. Starting from being a Tropical Depression, Tropical Storm Isis became a Storm on August 20 with winds over 45 mph (72 km/h). The minimum pressure is unknown

Hurricane Javier

Hurricane Javier on August 20 near Latitude:10.00 / Longitude:-97.20. Winds were 30 mph (48 km/h). Hurricane Javier continued towards Latitude: 24.50 / Longitude:-137.40 ending with winds of 25 mph (40 km/h) on August 31. Starting from being a Tropical Depression, Hurricane Javier became a Hurricane on August 21 with winds over 115 mph (185 km/h). The minimum pressure was 920 mb.

Tropical Storm Kay

Tropical Storm Kay on August 28 near Latitude:18.10 / Longitude:-112.30. Winds were 25 mph (40 km/h). Tropical Storm Kay continued towards Latitude: 20.00 / Longitude:-130.70 ending with winds of 25 mph (40 km/h) on September 3. Starting from being a Tropical Depression, Tropical Storm Kay became a Tropical Storm on August 30 with winds over 40 mph (64 km/h). The minimum pressure is unknown.

Tropical Depression Seventeen-E

Tropical Depression Seventeen-E formed on September 8 and has dissipated on September 9 before becoming a Tropical Storm, with maximum winds of 30 mph (45 km/h).

Tropical Storm Lester

Tropical Storm Lester on September 13 near Latitude:14.00 / Longitude:-129.90. Winds were 30 mph (48 km/h). Tropical Storm Lester continued towards Latitude: 18.70 / Longitude:-140.80 ending with winds of 30 mph (48 km/h) on September 17. Starting from being a Tropical Depression, Tropical Storm Lester became a Tropical Storm on September 14 with winds over 45 mph (72 km/h). The minimum pressure is unknown.

Tropical Storm Madeline

Tropical Storm Madeline on September 15 near Latitude:12.70 / Longitude:-103.90. Winds were 25 mph (40 km/h). Tropical Storm Madeline continued towards Latitude: 20.50 / Longitude:-129.80 ending with winds of 25 mph (40 km/h) on September 22. Starting from being a Tropical Depression, Tropical Storm Madeline became a Tropical Storm on September 16 with winds over 60 mph (96 km/h). The minimum pressure is unknown.

Hurricane Newton

One of four storms to have major affect on the land, Newton formed as a tropical disturbance off the Nicaraguan coast. The disturbance becomes the twentieth depression of the 1986 season on September 18. Intensification was slow as Tropical Depression Twenty-E did not reach storm status until September 20. Now Tropical Storm Newton, the cyclone began to parallel the Mexican coast. Newton strengthened into a hurricane on September 21. Newton peaked at about 90 mph (145 km/h) and a minimal pressure of 984 mb. On September 22, Newton slammed Cabo San Lucas and moved inland into New Mexico. Newton dissipated on September 23. However, the remnants of Newton continued across the United States and entered the Atlantic Ocean on September 26.

Flash flood warnings were issued by the National Weather Service as Newton, along with a front over the Great Plains, was predicted to cause heavy rains over New Mexico and western Texas.

Rainfall was spread around parts of the United States and Mexico. The peak rainfall in Mexico was in Jopala, while the max in the U.S. was in Edwardsville, Kansas. Other states affected by the remnants of Newton are Texas, New Mexico, Indiana, Illinois, Oklahoma, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Damage in Mexico was minor with roofs being ripped off and blowing down trees and utility poles. No injuries or fatalities were reported in association with Newton.

Tropical Depression Twenty-One-E

The twenty-first cyclone of the season formed from a tropical disturbance in the ITCZ. The disturbance moved at about . The disturbance was declared Tropical Depression 21-E at 600 UTC September 19. However the depression lasted a short time, only six hours, when it dissipated, possibly due to the close distance between it and Tropical Storm Madeline.

Hurricane Orlene

The 22nd cyclone of the 1986 season formed as a tropical disturbance on September 19. The disturbance was quasi-stationary for about 30 hours, when it strengthened into Tropical Depression 22-E on September 21. Depression 22E strengthened at a very rapid rate, become Tropical Storm Orlene 12 hours later and Hurricane Orlene 9 hours after that. The next advisory would be released by the Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Hawaii as it moved past the 140°W border line.

The Central Pacific Hurricane Center's first advisory had winds at 75 mph (115 km/h). Orlene gained more strength, peaking at 80 mph (130 km/h). Orlene moved into area of strong wind shear, causing rapid weakening. Orlene weakened into a tropical depression on September 24 and advisories ceased soon after. Orlene did not affect land in anyway.

Hurricane Paine

The 23rd cyclone of the 1986 season formed as a tropical disturbance on September 27. The disturbance strengthened into Tropical Depression Twenty-Three-E that night (0000 UTC September 28). Tropical Depression 23-E moved northwestward and began to veer around due to an upper-level trough near northern Mexico. At 0000 UTC September 30, the depression became Tropical Storm Paine, southwest of Acapulco. 21 hours later, a NOAA recon flight found winds of 90 mph (145 km/h), upgrading Paine into hurricane. Paine peaked as a Category 2 hurricane on October 1 as it headed towards the Sea of Cortez. Paine turned northwestward and crossed the coast at San Jose with winds of 100 mph (160 km/h). Paine weakened as it moved over land going through Mexico and then entering the United States. Paine dissipated over land on October 2. The system continued however, dissipating on October 4 over Lake Michigan.

Rainfall from Paine was significant in Mexico and the United States. One to three inches (76 mm) of rain fell in Cabo San Lucas with rains around the Mexican mainland peaking at 12 inches in Acapulco. Fort Scott, Kansas reported the peak total in the U.S. with . Flooding was reported due to recent rains, particularly near Oklahoma City. Other states affected include Texas, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri and Iowa, much of what the weaker Hurricane Newton had done earlier in the month.

Hurricane Roslyn

Tropical Depression 24 originated as a tropical disturbance which moved westward offshore Nicaragua. During the early afternoon of the 15th, ship reports indicated the formation of a tropical depression near 10.2N 92.7W. The cyclone moved at a quick pace to the west- northwest south of a warm-core ridge. Early on the morning of the 16th, Roslyn became a tropical storm. By the morning of the 17th, it had developed into a hurricane south of Acapulco. A vigorous upper trough was deepening offshore Baja California, and Roslyn began to re-curve within a few hundred miles of Manzanillo. Striking Mazatlán as a marginal hurricane on the 20th, its upper level portion moved northeast thereafter spurring cycle-genesis in the western Gulf of Mexico along the frontal zone, causing heavy rains along the Middle Texas coast. The surface low occluded and moved northward through the Mississippi Valley, spreading light to moderate rains along its path. However, its upper level portion continued moving eastward, spreading rains across the Deep South.

Tropical Depression Twenty-Five-E

Tropical Depression 25-E was the final tropical depression of the 1986 season. It formed on October 22 at 1800 UTC near the 140°W latitude line, which splits the Eastern and Central Pacific basins. A low pressure trough extended a large area, making development very unlikely. 30 hours after forming, the stationary storm dissipated.

Season summary

1986 storm names

The following names were used for named storms that formed in the eastern Pacific in 1986. No names were retired, so it was used again in the 1992 season. This is the same list used for the 1980 season. Storms were named Orlene, Paine, and Roslyn for the first time in 1986, although Orlene had been used on the old four-year lists. No central Pacific names were used; the first name used would have been Oka. Names that were not assigned are marked in gray.

  • Agatha
  • Blas
  • Celia
  • Darby
  • Estelle
  • Frank
  • Georgette
  • Howard
  • Isis
  • Javier
  • Kay
  • Lester
  • Madeline
  • Newton
  • Orlene
  • Paine
  • Roslyn
  • Seymour (unused)
  • Tina (unused)
  • Virgil (unused)
  • Winifred (unused)
  • Xavier (unused)
  • Yolanda (unused)
  • Zeke (unused)
  • See also


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