Hurricane Hector appears it will move close enough to Hawaii to bring gusty winds and heavy rainfall from Tuesday night into early Thursday for parts of the islands (see Fig. 1). At this hour, Hector is a major hurricane (Category 4) with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph. As Hector continues its westward movement, it should remain a hurricane as it approaches the Big Island. This is due to the favorable environmental conditions including the anomalously warm waters in the region (see Fig. 2).
Fig. 1: National Hurricane Center Forecast For Hector
Fig. 2: Current Sea-Surface Temperature Anomalies (Tropical Tidbits)
While Hector is moving westward at this hour. A northerly component to its forward motion is expected early this upcoming week. This is because Hector is moving along the southern periphery of an upper-level high (forcing the westward motion) but the high should slowly weaken as a trough builds southward allowing the northerly component (see Fig. 3). How far north Hector will track is unknown. In the latest advisory, the National Hurricane Center believes the center of Hector will remain just south of the Big Island. With that said, it is possible Hector could make landfall in Hawaii. The average track errors are still close to 150 miles this far out.
Fig. 3: 500mb Geopotential Heights (Tropical Tidbits)
Regardless of landfall, Hector will cause tropical storm conditions for parts of the Big Island and possibly Maui, Moloka’i and O’ahu. Gusty winds of 30-45mph, heavy rain showers, and rough seas are likely. Please remain on high-alert if you’re in Hawaii or have plans to travel to Hawaii this week as just a small northerly jog could bring more severe impacts.