Barbara Weakens to a Tropical Storm

Former Hurricane Barbara weakened to a tropical storm on Friday.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Tropical Storm Barbara was located at latitude 18.6°N and longitude 134.7°W which put it about 1330 miles (2145 km) east of Hilo, Hawaii.  Barbara was moving toward the west-northwest at 13 m.p.h. (20 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 997 mb.

The effects of vertical wind shear and cooler Sea Surface Temperatures caused former Hurricane Barbara to weaken quickly to a tropical storm on Friday.  An upper level trough northeast of Hawaii produced strong southwesterly winds which blew the upper portion of the circulation north of the remainder of the tropical storm.  In addition, Tropical Storm Barbara moved over water where the Sea Surface Temperature was near 25°C which meant there was less energy to support the development of taller thunderstorms.  Tropical Storm Barbara still had a well formed circulation in the lower levels of the atmosphere.  However, as a result of the strong shear and cooler water, bands consisted primarily of showers and lower clouds.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 140 miles (220 km) from the center of circulation.

Tropical Storm Barbara will continue to move over cooler water and through a region of strong vertical wind shear during the next several days.  Barbara will continue to weaken and it could be a tropical depression on Saturday.

Since Tropical Storm Barbara contains few tall thunderstorms, it is being steered by winds closer to the surface.  A subtropical high pressure system north of Barbara will steer the tropical storm toward the west.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Barbara will move toward Hawaii.