Hurricane Hilda approaches Hawaiian Islands; Tropical Storm Watches expected

Hurricane Hilda continues her slow approach to the Hawaiian Islands this morning as she continues to move to the Northwest at around 5-6 mph.  This motion is expected to continue for several hours before a turn to the West and a slight increase in forward speed.  As of 11 PM Hawaiian Standard time (5 AM Eastern Daylight time), Hilda was located at 17.1 North and 105.9 West with maximum sustained winds at 90 mph and a central pressure of 981 millibars .  Hilda is 330 miles East Southeast of Hilo Hawaii.

Forecast map

Hurricane Hilda strengthened some during the day on Monday as visible satellite imagery showed significant improvement in Hilda’s structural integrity and deep convection continued to develop over the low level circulation despite the strong area of wind shear that continues to be present.  This increased activity seemed to diminish after nightfall.

Tropical Satellite

The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, known as the Hurricane Hunters, sampled the conditions in the inner core of Hilda late Monday night, and found that Hilda continued her weakening trend as the central pressure increased to 981 millibars from its low point during the day of 976 millibars.  Despite this increase, Hilda’s winds have held steady around 90 MPH and her hurricane force winds continues to extend out over 20 miles from the center of circulation.  The Recon Squadron will perform another pass of Hilda Tuesday morning Hawaii time and will then begin to perform additional runs every 6 hours starting Tuesday evening.

As Hilda approaches Hawaii, large swells associated with the hurricane will produce large waves along east and southeast facing shorelines of the major Hawaiian islands. Heavy rain is expected Thursday and Friday and Flash floods are a possibility later on Thursday and into Friday night. A Tropical Storm Watch is likely to be posted for the big island overnight as Tropical Storm force winds could begin on Thursday.

Firsthand Weather will continue to put out the latest information on Hurricane Hilda as it comes in with our next update expected this evening.

Forecaster Robert Millette