Hurricane Hector picked up strength as it entered the Central Pacific Basin, according to forecasters.
As of 5 a.m. today, the Category 4 storm was 925 miles east-southeast of Hilo packing maximum sustained winds of 145 mph with stronger gusts. It was moving west at 15 mph.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 100 miles. A motion toward the west-northwest at an increased forward speed is expected through Tuesday, followed by a westward motion Tuesday night through Friday.
Hector is expected to gradually weaken during the next few days.
Deanna Marks, a meteorologist from the National Weather Service’s Hilo office, told emergency workers this morning at Civil Defense headquarters in Hilo that there is a 33 percent chance Hector will bring tropical storm force winds of between 39 and 73 mph to South Point. That’s down from the 40 percent chance she told county department heads yesterday.
The storm is expected to pass the southernmost point of the Big Island on Wednesday morning.
Marks described Hector as a “compact but powerful” storm.
There is a warning for boaters in waters between 40 nautical miles of the Big Island to 240 nautical miles offshore.
Meanwhile, forecasters also have their eyes on two Tropical Storms in the Eastern Pacific.
Tropical Storm John was 3,105 miles east-southeast of Hilo as of 5 a.m. today, while Tropical Storm Ileana is 3,465 miles east-southeast of Hilo.
A lava emergency meeting scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday at Pahoa High School gym has been canceled as the county is concentrating on response to possible effects from Hector.
Residents and visitors are advised to have an emergency survival kit ready in case disaster occurs.
The recommended items for a survival kit can be found on the American Red Cross website at http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/survival-kit-supplies.
Email John Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.