Hurricane Lane has been swirling over the central Pacific Ocean since last week, generally tracking west. It may now threaten Hawaii this week with tropical storm or potentially even hurricane conditions.
As of Monday morning (Hawaii Standard Time), Lane was a 125-mph major hurricane. The National Hurricane Center expects the storm to remain a major hurricane (category 3 or higher) until at least Wednesday, before it begins to move over slightly cooler waters while taking a turn to the northwest. This is when the forecast turns interesting yet uncertain, as the storm will likely approach Hawaii sometime during the Thursday through Saturday time period.
There are still big differences among the model guidance in terms of the outcome. The latest run (Monday morning) of the ECMWF (European) model takes the center of Lane close to Kauai on Friday/Friday night as a weak hurricane or strong tropical storm.
Then there’s the GFS model that, as of midday Monday, shows a more eastern track of Lane, taking her into the Big Island and surrounding islands of Hawaii beginning Thursday night. This model, however, keeps the storm around the islands through Saturday, which makes this particular model run questionable given the upper-level pattern present.
Based on this uncertainty, Hurricane Lane may make landfall on at least one of the Hawaiian islands later this week as either a hurricane or tropical storm. There is also the chance the storm weakens into a depression or tracks far enough west to not impact any of the state at all. All residents of Hawaii should monitor the progress for the storm and the team of WeatherOptics will be sure to keep you in the loop.