Updated 

Tropical Storm Lowell strengthens in E. Pacific


Tropical Storm Lowell is now packing 65 mph winds Wednesday as it moves toward the northwest about 785 miles southwest of the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula, National Hurricane Center forecasters said.

Lowell, the 12th named storm of the Eastern Pacific hurricane season, as of 11 a.m. Wednesday was moving toward the northwest at 5 mph, forecasters said. Some strengthening is possible during the next 12 to 24 hours, forecasters said.

Tropical storm force winds current extend outward up to 205 miles from Lowell’s center.

Forecasters are also monitoring a broad low pressure area featuring disorganized showers and thunderstorms located several hundred miles south of the Gulf of Tehuantepec. Environmental conditions are conducive for the low to become a tropical depression by the weekend while it moves west-northwest around 10 mph.

Forecasters gave the system a 40 percent of formation during the next 48 hours and an 80 percent chance of forming into a tropical cyclone during the next five days.

National Hurricane Center officials in May predicted 14 to 20 named storms and seven to 11 hurricanes — including three to six major hurricanes — to form this year in the Eastern Pacific Basin. Overall, they gave the 2014 season a 50 percent chance of being above normal, 40 percent chance of being near-normal and a 10 percent chance of being below normal.

The Eastern Pacific averages 15 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes each year, according to the center.

The Eastern Pacific hurricane season began May 15 and ends Nov. 30.