By Jeff King
Little has changed overnight as Hawai’i continues to brace for a two-fisted punch of tropical storms. Hurricane Iselle remains on course to pass just south of Maui around 3 a.m. Friday. By that point, the category 1 hurricane is expected to weaken into a tropical storm. That offers little comfort, though, as winds could remain between 39 and 74 mph.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Julio continues to churn along a path that will likely affect the Aloha State around Monday. To the southwest of our state, Genevieve has strengthened into a hurricane again – but poses no threat to Hawai’i.
Maui weather expert Glenn James offers the following insights from his Maui Weather Today website:
Our trade winds will remain active, blowing in the moderately strong range for the most part…locally stronger at times today. Here’s the latest weather map, showing the Hawaiian Islands, and the rest of the North Pacific Ocean, along with a real-time wind profile of the central Pacific…focused on the Hawaiian Islands. We have a moderately strong high pressure system located to the northeast of the state, with a ridge of high pressure extending west-southwest…to the north of Hawaii. Our winds will begin going through some definite changes as two tropical cyclones move through, or close to the Hawaiian Islands beginning Thursday…through the weekend into next Monday.
Satellite imagery shows scattered low level clouds over or around the islands…with the leading edge of clouds associated with hurricane Iselle now showing up to our east! Looking at this larger looping satellite image, it shows considerable thunderstorm activity over the ocean to the southwest through south of the state…the largest of these areas is Hurricane Geneieve far to Hawaii’s west-southwest. The spinning clouds associated with category 1 hurricane Iselle are evident on the right side of that animated image…which continues to take aim on our fragile islands. Here’s the looping radar, showing scattered showers falling locally along the windward sides and around the mountains, which are more active now than they have been the last several days.
We’ll find favorably inclined, trade wind weather conditions…prevailing today. Meanwhile, category 1 hurricane Iselle continues to take aim on the southern part of the Hawaiian Islands…and will become the primary weather feature both Thursday and Friday. The forecast has hurricane Iselle being downgraded to a tropical storm as it approaches the Hawaiian Islands, which is a good thing. As this Central Pacific Hurricane Center’s official track map on Iselle 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 hurricane named Julio. Julio could bring another round of heavy weather to the islands later this coming weekend into early next Monday. In sum, we’ll very likely see wet and blustery weather, with high surf conditions (east shores) during the Thursday-Friday time frame, and then again possibly later this weekend as Julio moves close by to our north…please find more information just below. I’ll be back many times during the day with more updates on all of the above and below, I hope you have a great Wednesday wherever you happen to be spending it! Aloha for now…Glenn.
~~~ Category 1 hurricane Iselle: Is moving west-northwestward through our central Pacific. The latest Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) estimate of sustained winds is 85 mph near the center. It will likely remain a hurricane through Wednesday evening, and by Thursday morning, it will have weakened back into a tropical storm. It will remain a tropical storm thereafter, as it migrates over portions of the Hawaiian Islands through 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’ll also see high surf arriving ahead of this tropical storm, breaking largest along the easterly shores for a few days.