By Jeff King
Although the Central Pacific Hurricane season doesn’t officially begin until this Monday, June 1, Hurricane Andres has come a callin’ early. The Category Three maelstrom is spinning forcefully about 700 miles west-southwest of Baja California. Because of the relative distance from any significant “targets,” the Central Pacific Hurricane Center has issued no coastal watches or warnings at this time.
As of 5 p.m. HST today, the center of Hurricane Andres was located near latitude 15.1 North, longitude 116.8 West. Andres is moving toward the northwest near seven mph (11 km/h). A turn toward the west- northwest is likely by Sunday. Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 110 mph (175 km/h) with higher gusts. Gradual weakening is forecast during the next couple of days. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 160 miles (260 km).
Only one of the dozen or so forecast hurricane models predicts a storm powerful enough to reach Hawai’i. The other track paths show a remnant low weather system that could bring stronger than usual trade winds by late next week – and a possible bump in surf size along east and south facing shores.
Recently honored for his excellence in preparing us for hurricane season, Maui weather guru Glenn James offers this forecast for the upcoming storm season: “The Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) is predicting a busy storm season this year, which runs from June through the end of November in our area. In their pre-season press conference they predicted 5 to 8 tropical cyclones could form in the Central Pacific basin this year. The normal number is 4-5 tropical systems. The busiest months for hurricanes are July thorough October, and models point to a 70 percent chance for an above normal season…because of the strengthening El Nino conditions.”