Barbara Rapidly Intensifies Into a Hurricane

Former Tropical Storm Barbara rapidly intensified into a hurricane over the Eastern North Pacific Ocean on Monday.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Hurricane Barbara was located at latitude 11.5°N and longitude 118.5°W which put it about 970 miles (1560 km) southwest of the southern tip of Baja California.  Barbara was moving toward the west at 16 m.p.h. (26 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 85 m.p.h. (135 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure  was 983 mb.

Hurricane Barbara intensified rapidly on Monday.  An eye formed at the center of circulation and a ring of strong thunderstorms surrounded the eye.  The strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of the circulation.  Storm near the core of Barbara were generating strong upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the hurricane.  Winds to hurricane force extended out about 25 miles (40 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 160 miles (260 km) from the center.

Hurricane Barbara will move through an environment very favorable for intensification during the next 36 to 48 hours.  Barbara will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  It will move through a region where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Hurricane Barbara will continue to intensify rapidly and it is expected to strengthen into a major hurricane on Tuesday.

Hurricane Barbara will move south of a subtropical ridge over the Eastern North Pacific Ocean during the next few days.  The ridge will steer Barbara toward the west-northwest.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Barbara will move farther away from Baja California and the rest of Mexico.