UPDATE: Erick and Hurricane Flossie are expected to weaken before brushing Hawaii. However, The Weather Channel added, both storms will likely still cause rains, high winds, and potential flooding.
As The Weather Channel explained, Hurricane Erick intensified to a category 4 hurricane on Tuesday. The storm’s center is expected to pass well south of Hawaii Thursday night into Friday and will likely weaken back to a tropical storm due to wind sheer coming off Hawaii. Due to this wind, Flossie is also expected to weaken and will likely be either a tropical storm or tropical depression by the time it nears the islands. Continue reading for more information.
Tropical Storm Erick strengthened into a hurricane on Tuesday, the National Weather Service reported, just as it makes its approach toward the Hawaiian islands.
Thankfully, the storm is not expected to make direct landfall in Hawaii, however, experts warned it will cause rough seas and stronger winds across the Big Island.
"Impacts such as higher surf, strong winds or heavy rainfall are possible even with this tropical system passing south of the Big Island," the National Weather Service in Honolulu told USA Today. "These additional local island-by-island impacts are highly dependent upon the size, intensity, and track of Erick as it moves through the Hawaii region. A wet weather pattern for sure."
The National Weather Service noted in a release that seas will likely peak on Thursday at upwards of 13 feet before receding on Friday. Showers are expected to last throughout the weekend.
According to Accuweather, Erick is the third hurricane to develop in the Pacific in the 2019 season, but it likely won’t be the last. In fact, it isn’t even alone in the Pacific right now as tropical storm Flossie is already spinning her way toward Hawaii too. That storm, the Hurricane Center said, is expected to strengthen into a hurricane by Tuesday evening and become a “major hurricane” by Wednesday night.
The Pacific Ocean isn’t the only place harboring dangerous storms either. The National Hurricane Center is also currently tracking two tropical waves in the Caribbean, both of which appear to be headed toward Florida.
While both storms appear as though they will not strengthen into hurricanes, or even tropical depressions, they will still likely bring the threat of flash flooding and high winds to the islands. According to the Sun-Sentinel, the storms only have a 10 percent chance of developing into tropical cyclones. But, they are expected to cross directly over Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Hispaniola, and parts of the southeastern Bahamas.
"Under this weather pattern,” the National Weather Service said, “widespread showers and thunderstorms will maintain a high risk for flooding over portions of the islands through the short-term period. As soils become saturated, the potential of mudslides in steep terrain will remain high through at least Wednesday."
Long story short, if you’re planning to take an island vacation to Hawaii or the Caribbean in the coming days and weeks it may be a good idea to check in with your flight operator and accommodations to ensure there is a plan in place in case of emergency. Here’s everything you should know about traveling during hurricane season so you can be prepared for just about anything.