The hurricane season in the eastern Pacific, which began May 15, has wasted little time in spinning up its first landfalling storm. Barbara, which was upgraded to a hurricane this afternoon, is within hours of moving ashore Mexico’s west coast.
At 2 p.m. eastern, satellite imagery showed the storm’s eye nearing landfall somewhere close to Salina Cruz, Mexico in the southern part of Oaxaca state. Salina Cruz is home to Mexico’s largest oil refinery.
Hurricane warnings are in effect from Puerto Angel to Barra De Tonala.
Barbara is a minimal hurricane with peak winds of 75 mph, but is forecast to produce 4-8 inches of rain (locally higher amounts of 8-12 inches possible) and a storm surge of 3-5 near and to the east of where the center makes landfall.
As the storm moves inland, it should dissipate and gradually rain itself out over the next two days, but may generate life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides in the process.
The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1, and some long-range models suggest storm development is possible as soon as next week.
Correction: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated the storm had made landfall east of Salina Cruz. This erroneous information resulted from flawed radar imagery. See Brian McNoldy’s (CWG’s tropical weather expert) explanation on his Facebook page.