Hurricane Barbara is close to Category 5

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A powerful Hurricane Barbara rapidly gained strength and was close to growing into a Category 5 storm Tuesday night as it pushed out over the eastern Pacific Ocean, far from land.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Barbara had maximum sustained winds of nearly 155 mph, just under the 157 mph threshold for a Category 5 storm.

The storm’s center was about 1,175 miles west-southwest of the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula and it was moving to the west-northwest at 14 mph.

The hurricane center said the storm was not expected to gain much more strength during the night and predicted it would begin to quickly lose power this afternoon.