Category 4 Hector now tracking south of Hawaii

Ocean warnings are posted

The Maui News

Hurricane Hector, which has grown to a Category 4 system, is currently on a track to pass just south of the Hawaiian Islands sometime between tonight and Thursday, the National Weather Service said Monday afternoon.

The southern part of Hawaii island is expected to receive heavy rain from Hector; what happens with weather elsewhere in the state depends on the path and intensity of the hurricane, the weather service said.

At 2 p.m. Monday, Hector was 905 miles east southeast of Kahului, packing maximum sustained winds of 155 mph and moving west at 16 mph, the weather service said.

Some warning have already gone up, with state emergency management officials urging residents and visitors to track the hurricane’s movements.

A tropical storm watch is in effect until 6 p.m. today for waters south of the Big Island, the weather service said. Winds from the east are expected to blow 23 to 35 mph with seas of 12 to 18 feet. Tropical storm force winds are possible south of Hawaii island if Hector tracks more north than current forecasts.

A hurricane warning has been issued for waters off the Hawaiian Islands from 46 to 276 miles, including a portion of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. A small-craft advisory is in effect until 6 p.m. today for Maalaea Bay, the Pailolo Channel between Maui and Molokai and the Alenuihaha Channel between Maui and the Big Island. Seas are expected to be 7 to 11 feet with northwest winds of 17 to 29 mph.

The Coast Guard recommends ocean users to plan for hazardous conditions. Even if Hector does not hit the Hawaiian Islands directly, its proximity can still cause high winds and strong currents, which may not be evident to an observer from shore.

High surf is expected to impact east-facing shores of Hawaii island and East Maui with heights building through today and peaking tonight/Wednesday, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency said Monday. Surf may reach 15 to 20 feet. 

The agency and its partners, who are closely monitoring the storm, recommend the following precautions:

• Listen to ocean safety officials and exercise caution if entering the water as high-surf messages are issued.

• Read the “Hawaii Boater’s Hurricane and Tsunami Safety Manual” for recommended precautions to protect boats prior to a storm at /2013/04/web-final_hurricaneboatersmanual_7-01-13.pdf.

A dry trade wind weather pattern is expected today ahead of Hector. The system will leave the region Friday with typical summertime trade wind weather patterns expected into the weekend in its wake, the weather service said.