Major Hurricane Hector may track close enough to unleash rain, gusty winds and swells in Hawaii later this week
Hector may track close enough to Hawaii to bring some rain and gusty winds during the middle to latter part of this week. Added hazards to the area affected by Kīlauea Volcano are expected to be minimal.
Major Hurricane Hector is currently located over the eastern Pacific and traveling westward. Hector may continue to fluctuate between Category 3 and 4 strength into Monday.
Hector is currently on a path that will take it south of Hawaii during the middle to latter part of this week. While Hector will be past its peak intensity, it should still be a hurricane during this time.
Hurricanes that track in from the east typically encounter cooler waters near Hawaii, weakening before reaching the islands. The most destructive hurricanes to hit Hawaii, such as Iniki in 1992, have typically approached the islands from the south.
However, the waters surrounding Hawaii are currently warmer than normal.
Even if Hector stays well south of the Big Island, swells propagating outward will lead to building seas and surf along the eastern and southern facing coasts of the islands this week.
"Waves can increase to around 10 feet offshore of the southeast-facing coast of the Big Island at midweek," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio said.
"Hector will also pass close enough to the Big Island to bring locally enhanced showers and thunderstorms and gusty winds over southern and southeastern sections of the island," according to Rossio.
Should Hector make more of a northwestward turn toward Hawaii than currently expected, squalls with locally drenching rain and gusty winds would increase across the Big Island first, then perhaps Maui, Moloka'i and O'ahu during the latter part of the week.
Southeastern areas of the Big Island have been devastated by the eruption of Kīlauea Volcano and the lava flows that followed, but AccuWeather Meteorologist Jim Andrews anticipates minimal added hazards to the region due to Hector.
"While showers can be enhanced at midweek as the hurricane passes by to the south, the risk of acid rain being produced as the downpours hit the steaming lava would seem to be low," he said.
The risk of debris flows around the areas charred by the lava is not as high as would be the case after a wildfire.
"The porous nature of lava should limit debris flows," according to Andrews.
Due to the expected track of Hector, any lingering laze along the southeastern coast of the Big Island could be steered to the southern tip of the island and then out to sea as the hurricane approaches and passes by.
"Eruptions and lava flows from the volcano have dramatically waned this weekend, so the amount of laze and vog being produced is significantly less than earlier this summer," Andrews said.
"Even if Hector tracks farther to the north than latest projections indicate and lava flows increase and produce more laze, any laze picked up by the hurricane would likely just get dispersed by the storm," he said.
By the time the weekend rolls around, Hector's impacts on Hawaii are expected to be over.
Farther east, Tropical Storm Ileana is expected to stir rough seas and graze the southern coast of Mexico with heavy rain early this week.
Ileana may eventually become absorbed by another strengthening storm that is taking shape to its west.
AccuWeather will continue to provide updates on Hector and other tropical activity around the globe. Download the free AccuWeather app to stay alert to weather hazards for your area.
With the potential for an El Niño developing into this autumn, warmer-than-average water temperatures over the tropical Pacific could result in more threats than average for the Hawaiian Islands.
On average, there are approximately five tropical systems per year over the central Pacific basin.
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