Tropical Storm Barbara forms; danger to Hawaii unknown

Tropical Storm Barbara was about 85 miles south of the southern tip of Baja, Calif., moving west-northwest at 16 mph with sustained winds of 40 mph at 9 a.m. MDT. Satellite image courtesy NOAA

June 30, 2019 (UPI) — Newly formed Tropical Storm Barbara is set to become the next hurricane in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and take a track farther to the west than Alvin.

Less than 48 hours after the demise of once-Hurricane Alvin, Barbara formed Sunday morning over the warm waters several hundred miles to the southwest of Mexico.

Further strengthening is expected as Barbara remains over warm water and in an area with lessening wind shear, both of which are conducive for a tropical system to intensify. The National Hurricane Center predicts the storm will become a hurricane by Tuesday.

“Barbara may become a hurricane by the middle of the week as it tracks generally to the west to west-northwest away from Mexico,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Adam Douty said.

A track into the open waters of the Eastern Pacific will limit the dangers of this strengthening storm to shipping interests through the first week of July.

Whether impacts may eventually reach Hawaii after next weekend will depend on the storm’s exact track.

“Since Barbara will head more westward than Alvin, it is possible that this system (or the remains of) may approach Hawaii early in the second week of July [the week starting with Monday, July 8],” Douty stated.

“Given track uncertainty this far in the future, the threat of impacts on Hawaii are currently low, but it will be something to monitor,” Douty said.

A path more to the northwest than west may take Barbara over cooler water and cause it to weaken before approaching Hawaii. However, the water south of Hawaii is more than warm enough to allow a storm to maintain its intensity.

The presence of any strong wind shear and dry air are other factors AccuWeather meteorologists will be monitoring in the coming days to determine whether Barbara will fizzle or remain strong on its journey toward Hawaii.

Even a weakening storm could cause seas to become rough and create hazards for swimmers, surfers and boaters around Hawaii.

However, residents and visitors may be faced with flooding rain and wind dangers if Barbara remains strong and takes aim or tracks very close to the islands.

“Water temperatures are above normal around Hawaii,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said.

“While that has been contributing to record highs being set in Honolulu and other communities recently, it can also make the island more vulnerable to tropical threats, not just from this storm but through the rest of hurricane season,” Anderson said.

AccuWeather meteorologists are predicting a more active-than-normal hurricane season for the Central Pacific.

In the wake of Barbara, there are signs that at least one to two storms can take shape south of Mexico through the first half of July.

Meanwhile, there are no signs of tropical development in the Atlantic Ocean through the first week of July.


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