Hurricane John (2006)

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Hurricane John
Category 4 hurricane ( SSHS)
Hurricane John on August 31.

Hurricane John on August 31.
Formed August 28, 2006
Dissipated September 4, 2006
135 mph (215 km/h) (1-minute sustained)
Lowest pressure 948 hPa ( mbar)
Damage $60.8 million (2006 USD)
Fatalities 6 direct
Guerrero, Michoacán, Baja California Sur, Arizona, California, New Mexico, Texas
Part of the
2006 Pacific hurricane season

Hurricane John was the tenth named storm, sixth hurricane, and fourth major hurricane of the 2006 Pacific hurricane season. The hurricane threatened large portions of Mexico's western coastline, resulting in the evacuation of tens of thousands of people. Hurricane John developed on August 28 from a tropical wave to the south of Mexico. Favorable conditions allowed the storm to quickly intensify, and John attained peak winds of 135 mph (215 km/h) on August 30. Eyewall replacement cycles and land interaction with western Mexico weakened the hurricane, and John made landfall on southeastern Baja California with winds of 110 mph (180 km/h) on September 1. It slowly weakened as it moved northwestward through Baja California, and dissipated on September 4. Moisture from the remnants of the storm entered the southwest United States.

In coastal portions of western Mexico, strong winds downed trees, while heavy rain resulted in mudslides. Hurricane John caused moderate damage on Baja California, including destroying 4 houses and thousands of flimsy shacks. The hurricane killed six people in Mexico. In the southwest United States, moisture from the remnants of John produced heavy rainfall. The rainfall aided drought conditions in portions of northern Texas, though it was detrimental in locations that had received above-normal rainfall throughout the year.

Storm history

Storm path
Storm path

A tropical wave moved off the coast of Africa on August 17. It entered the eastern Pacific Ocean on August 24, and quickly showed signs of organization. That night, Dvorak classifications began on the system while it was located just west of Costa Rica, and it moved west-northwestward at 10-15 mph (15-25 km/h). Conditions appeared favorable for further development,, and convection increased late on the 26th over the area of low pressure. Early on August 27, the system became much better organized while located 250 miles (400 km) south-southwest of Guatemala, though convection remained minimal while located 470 miles (750 km) southeast of Acapulco. Early on August 28, banding increased within its organizing convection, and the system developed into Tropical Depression Eleven-E.

Hurricane John as it was rapidly intensifying
Hurricane John as it was rapidly intensifying

Due to low amounts of vertical shear, very warm waters, and abundant moisture, steady intensification was forecast, and the depression strengthened to Tropical Storm John later on August 28. Deep convection continued to develop over the storm, while an eye feature developed within the expanding central dense overcast. The storm continued to intensify, and John attained hurricane status on August 29 while located 190 miles (305 km) south-southeast of Acapulco. Banding features continued to increase as the hurricane moved west-northwestward around the southwest periphery of a mid- to upper-level ridge over northern Mexico. The hurricane underwent rapid intensification, and John attained major hurricane status twelve hours after after becoming a hurricane. Shortly thereafter, the eye became obscured, and the intensity remained at 115 mph (185 km/h) due to an eyewall replacement cycle. Another eye formed, and based on Reconnaissance data, it is estimated the hurricane strengthened to attain Category 4 status on August 30 while located 160 miles (260 km) west of Acapulco, or 95 miles (155 km) south of Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán. Hours later, the hurricane underwent another eyewall replacement cycle, and subsequently weakened to Category 3 status as it paralleled the Mexican coastline a short distance offshore.

John just prior to landfall on Baja California
John just prior to landfall on Baja California

Due to land interaction and its eyewall replacement cycle of its interaction with land, Hurricane John weakened to a 105 mph (170 km/h) hurricane by late on August 31, but restrengthened to a major hurricane shortly after as its eye became better defined. After completing another eyewall replacement cycle, the hurricane weakened again to Category 2 status, and made landfall on Cabo del Este on the southern tip of Baja California as a 110 mph (180 km/h) hurricane on September 1. John passed near La Paz as a weakening Category 1 hurricane on September 2, and weakened to a tropical storm shortly thereafter over land. John continued to weaken, and late on September 3 the system deteriorated to a tropical depression while still over land. By September 4, most of the convection decoupled from the circulation towards mainland Mexico, and a clear circulation had not been discernable for 24 hours. Based on the disorganization of the system, the National Hurricane Centre issued its last advisory on the system.


The Mexican army and emergency services were stationed near the coast, while public schools in and around Acapulco were cancelled. Officials in Acapulco advised low-lying residents to be on alert, and also urged boats to return to harbour. Authorities in the twin resort cities of Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo closed the port to small ocean craft. Government officials in the state of Jalisco declared a mandatory evacuation for 8,000 citizens in low-lying areas to 900 temporary shelters. Temporary shelters were also set up near Acapulco. The state of Michoacán was on a yellow alert, the middle of a five level alert system. Carnival Cruise Lines diverted the path of one cruise ship travelling along the Pacific waters off Mexico.

On August 31, the Baja California Sur state government ordered the evacuation of over 10,000 residents. Those who refuse to follow the evacuation order will be forced to evacuate by the army. Shelters have been set up to allow local residents and tourists to ride out the storm. Just weeks after a major flood in the area, officials evacuated hundreds of citizens in Las Presas in northern Mexico area near a dam. All public schools in the area were closed, as well.

The National Weather Service issued flood watches and warnings for portions of Texas and the southern two-thirds of New Mexico.



The powerful winds of Hurricane John produced heavy surf and downed trees near Acapulco. The hurricane produced a 10 foot (3 m) storm surge in Acapulco, which flooded coastal roads. In addition, John caused heavy rainfall along the western coast of Mexico, peaking at 12.5 inches in Los Planes, Jalisco. The rainfall resulted in mudslides in the Costa Chica region of Guerrero, leaving around 70 communities isolated.

In La Paz, capital of Baja California Sur, the hurricane downed 40 power poles. Authorities cut off the power supply to the city to prevent electrocutions from downed wires. Strong winds downed trees and destroyed many advertisement signs.Heavy rainfall totaling to over 20 inches (500 mm) in isolated areas resulted in ankle-deep flooding, closing many roads and the airport in La Paz. In La Paz, 500 families experienced damage to their homes, of which 200 were completely destroyed. The combination of winds and rain destroyed thousands of flimsy houses along Baja California. The rainfall also destroyed large areas of crops, and also killed many livestock. The rainfall caused the Iguagil dam in Comondu to overflow, isolating 15 towns due to 4 feet (1.5 m) floodwaters. In the coastal city of Mulegé, flash flooding caused widespread damage throughout the town and the death of a United States citizen. Over 250 homes were damaged or destroyed in the town, leaving many people homeless. Severe flooding blocked portions of Mexican Federal Highway 1, and also caused damage to an aqueduct in the region.

In all, Hurricane John destroyed hundreds of houses, blew off the roofs of 160 houses in Baja California, and killed six people. Damage in Mexico amounted to $60.8 million (2006 USD, 663 million 2006 MXN).

In Ciudad Juarez across the border from El Paso, Texas, rainfall from the storm's remnants flooded 20 neighborhoods, downed power lines, and resulted in several traffic accidents. Rainfall from John, combined with continual precipitation since two weeks prior to the storm, left thousands of people homeless.

United States

John's moisture over the Southwestern United States.
John's moisture over the Southwestern United States.

The remnants of John produced moderate amounts of rainfall across the southwest United States, including more than 3 inches (70 mm) in El Paso, Texas. The rainfall flooded many roads, forcing the closure of some roads including a 1/2 mile (800 m) portion of Interstate 10 in El Paso. A slick runway at El Paso International Airport delayed a Continental Airlines jet when its tires were stuck in mud. Rainfall from John in El Paso, combined with an unusually wet year, resulted in twice the normal annual rainfall, and caused 2006 to be the ninth wettest year on record. In northern Texas, moisture from the storm combined with cold front produced heavy rainfall peaking at 4.84 inches to the southwest of Sundown, helping alleviate a severe drought and causing Lake Alan Henry to overflow.

Moisture derived from John also produced rainfall across southern New Mexico, peaking at 5.25 inches at Ruidoso. The rainfall overflowed rivers, forcing people to evacuate along the Rio Ruidoso. The rainfall also caused isolated road flooding. Rainfall in New Mexico cancelled an annual wine festival in Las Cruces and caused muddy conditions at the All American Futurity at the Ruidoso Downs, the biggest day of horse racing in New Mexico. Flooding was severe in Mesquite, Hatch, and Rincon, where many homes experienced four feet of flooding and mud. Some homeowners lost all they owned. Tropical moisture from the storm also produced rainfall in Arizona and southern California. In California, the rainfall produced eight separate mudslides, trapping 19 vehicles but causing no injuries.


Branches of the Mexican Red Cross in Guerrero, Oaxaca and Michoacán were been put on alert. The organization's national emergency response team was on stand-by to assist the most affected areas. Navy helicopters delivered food and water to remote areas of Baja California. The Mexican Red Cross dispatched 2,000 food parcels to the southern tip of Baja California. In the city of Mulegé, gas supply, which was necessary to run generators, was low, drinking water was gone, and the airstrip was covered with mud. Many homeless residents initially stayed with friends or government-run shelters. Throughout the Baja California peninsula, thousands remained without water or electricity by two days after the storm, though a pilot from Phoenix prepared to fly to the disaster area with 100 gallons of water. Other pilots were expected to execute similar flights, as well. The office of Baja California Sur Tourism stated that minimal damage occurred to the tourism infrastructure, with only minimal delays to airports, roads, and maritime facilities. The Episcopal Relief and Development delivered food, clothing, medicine, and transportation to about 100 families, and gave matresses to about 80 families.

Many residents in Tucson, including over 50 students, delivered supplies to flood victims in New Mexico, including clothing and other donations.

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