By Jeff King
Maui has not been hit directly by a hurricane since 1853. Yet, there exists today not just one – but two chances that history may repeat itself. Hurricane Iselle and Tropical Storm (soon to be Hurricane) Julio are on course to at least “graze” the Hawaiian Islands. In this sense, “graze” still means heavy downpours, flooding and wind gusts approaching 100 mph.
To look at the weather today, it’s easy to presume all will be fine. Meteorologists say it won’t be fine. Maui TV News will continue to track the progress of each storm – and provide real time storm status satellite and radar links, as well as links to the various agencies monitoring the storms. Here are the latest images:
- Hurricane Iselle’s eyewall is losing shape – yet she remains a very dangerous Category Three hurricane.
- Iselle is expected to be a tropical storm when she arrives on Maui early Friday. The outer bands of the system will likely begin in the very early morning hours.
- The Central Pacific Hurricane Center now has forecast responsibilities for Iselle, Genevieve and – soon – for Julio. Here are the latest precises positions and forecast models.
- This satellite image shows the size of these three very dangerous storms. Genevieve is southwest of the main Hawaiian islands. Iselle and Julio are to our east – heading this way.
Maui weather expert Glenn James is (as he always is) the “go to guy” for realistic fact-reporting in times of potential severe weather. Following is his narrative for this morning:
We’ll find favorably inclined, trade wind weather conditions…prevailing through Wednesday. Meanwhile, category 3 hurricane Iselle, is now almost ready to enter our central Pacific…and will become a big part of our weather situation late Thursday and Friday. The forecast has hurricane Iselle being downgraded to a tropical storm as it approaches the Hawaiian Island, which is a good thing. As this Central Pacific Hurricane Center’s official track map shows, the islands will have this tropical storm moving over, or close to portions of the state later Thursday through part of Friday. The models are showing yet another tropical cyclone moving westward into the central Pacific, a couple of days behind Iselle. This next system is a tropical storm called Julio…and will become a hurricane by Wednesday morning. Julio could bring another round of heavy weather to the islands later this coming weekend. There’s still some minor uncertainty about exactly where tropical storm Iselle will strike here in Hawaii, or if it will slide by just to the south of the state. Either way however, we’ll very likely see wet and blustery weather, with high surf conditions along our east facing beaches during the Thursday-Friday time frame, and then again later this weekend as Julio moves close…please find more information just below. I’ll be back again many times during the day with more updates on all of the above and below, I hope you have a great Tuesday wherever you happen to be spending it! Aloha for now…Glenn.
Category 2 hurricane Iselle: This continues to be a strong hurricane, which has now moved out of the eastern Pacific into the central Pacific. This crossing point by the way is the 140W line of longitude…or about 1000 miles east of Hawaii. The latest Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) estimate of sustained winds is 109 mph…with gusts as high as 132 mph near the center. This hurricane peaked in terms of winds earlier yesterday, and will slowly diminish in strength from here on out – which is a very good thing for the Hawaiian Islands! It will likely remain a hurricane through Wednesday evening, and by Thursday morning, it will weaken back into a tropical storm. It will remain a tropical storm thereafter, as it migrates through portions of the Hawaiian Islands into Friday. A tropical storm is an organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds between 39 and 74 mph. We will also see high surf arriving ahead of this tropical storm, mostly breaking along the southeast and easterly shores for a few days.