Hurricane Barbara Reaches Category 4 Strength in Pacific

July 3, 2019 Updated: July 3, 2019

Category 4 Hurricane Barbara began to weaken on July 3 after reaching wind speeds of 140 mph, according to U.S. weather forecasters.

Category 5 strength storms have wind speeds of over 157 mph.

The storm is churning about 1,860 miles east of Hilo, Hawaii, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and is moving 12 mph to the west-northwest, according to the U.S. National Weather Service.

The storm is forecast to move in the direction of Hawaii. However, it is slated to weaken to a tropical depression, the agency said.

“Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 140 mph (220 km/h) with higher gusts. Barbara remains a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Weakening is forecast, and Barbara is expected to weaken to a tropical storm on Friday,” said the forecaster.

There are no hazards affecting land.

NOAA Forecast

The Atlantic hurricane season officially started on June 1 and lasts until November 1, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said there will four to eight hurricanes.

The agency said that for 2019, there will be a “likely range of 9 to 15 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 4 to 8 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 2 to 4 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher).”

The NOAA said it has a 70 percent confidence of its seasonal forecast.

This satellite image provided by NOAA shows Hurricane Michael, center, in the Gulf of Mexico on Oct. 9, 2018. Weather forecasters have posthumously upgraded last fall’s Hurricane Michael from a Category 4 storm to a Category 5. (NOAA via AP)

An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes.

“With the 2019 hurricane season upon us, NOAA is leveraging cutting-edge tools to help secure Americans against the threat posed by hurricanes and tropical cyclones across both the Atlantic and Pacific,” stated Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in a news release. “Throughout hurricane season, dedicated NOAA staff will remain on alert for any danger to American lives and communities.”

Officials said that regardless of how many storms form, people near coastal areas should remain prepared, as all it takes is one hurricane to cause significant damage.

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