Hawaii may be in the crosshairs of Hurricane Hector as it tracks westward across the Pacific Ocean. Currently a category 2 storm, Hector may make a run to become a major hurricane (category 3 or greater) this weekend and maintain that intensity into early next week as it nears Hawaii.

Forecast cone from the National Hurricane Center

At this time, the storm is expected to pass south of the Aloha State, but some of the model guidance from both the operational and ensemble runs suggests that Hawaii may not be out of the woods from direct impacts. The GFS model has shown a direct landfall on the Big Island. Now while that is possible, it’s not the likely scenario at the time.

As of the latest model runs Friday morning, both the European (ECMWF) and American (GFS) models keep Hector to the south of Hawaii, with pressures between 965 and 975 millibars. They also show similar timing of when Hector makes its closest approach, indicating that the worst of any possible impacts will take place on the islands around the Wednesday time period.

Typically storms that travel from the east and threaten Hawaii weaken before doing so due to the cooler waters surrounding the island, but this year the warmer waters have invaded farther north, possibly allowing for Hector to maintain hurricane-strength if it were to track directly into Hawaii.

At this time, here are the key points to know:

  • Hawaii is at risk for a direct hurricane landfall.
  • Large waves and gusty showers are likely either way.
  • Models favor the storm just missing the islands and passing to the south.

Jackson is Head of Content at WeatherOptics and produces several forecasts and manages all social media platforms. Previously, Jackson forecasted local weather for southwestern Connecticut, founding his website, Jackson's Weather, in the March of 2015. He is currently studying Meteorology and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Miami.

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