Barbara now a hurricane, could grow into Category 3 storm by Wednesday

The second named tropical cyclone in the 2019 Pacific hurricane season is now the second hurricane, as well.

As of 11 a.m. today, Hurricane Barbara was about 970 miles southwest of the southern tip of Baja California, Mexico.

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Barbara is packing maximum sustained winds of 85 mph with higher gusts and is moving to the west at 16 mph. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles from the storm’s center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 160 miles.

The storm is forecast to take a gradual turn to the west-northwest and to rapidly intensify into a major hurricane on Tuesday. The five-day forecast is for maximum sustained winds to peak at 140 mph by Wednesday. A decrease in Barbara’s forward speed is also expected to take place over the next couple of days.

“Barbara is expected to begin to move into a drier environment and over cooler (sea-surface temperatures), while approaching a region of increasing

southwesterly shear. This will induce a weakening trend that will continue through the end of the forecast period,” forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

The storm is expected to start weakening on Thursday and Barbara should be back to tropical storm status as it approaches the Central Pacific on Friday, still hundreds of miles from Hawaii.

The first named tropical cyclone of the 2019 Pacific hurricane season, Alvin, strengthened briefly into a hurricane on Friday before dissipating into a remnant low-pressure system on Saturday.

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The Pacific hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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