Tropical Storm Erick in Central Pacific, should be hurricane soon

Tropical Storm Erick is now in the Central Pacific approaching Hawaii while Tropical Storm Flossie remains in the Eastern Pacific, but could affect the Big Island sometime next week.

As of 5 a.m. today, Erick was 1310 miles east-southeast of Hilo and is expected to become a hurricane “any time soon” according to forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

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Erick was packing maximum sustained winds of 70 mph with locally higher gusts, just below Category 1 hurricane level, moving to the west at 17 mph. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles from the center.

Erick is expected to become a hurricane any time soon and then potentially a major hurricane on Tuesday. A weakening trend is forecast to begin by later in the week.

The center of the storm is expected to pass south of the islands sometime on Friday, and is expected to bring increased rain and higher surf to the Big Island.

Meanwhile, at 5 a.m. today, Tropical Storm Flossie was 2,715 miles east-southeast of Hilo. Flossie was packing maximum sustained winds of 50 mph with locally higher gusts, Further strengthening is expected, and Flossie is expected to become a hurricane on Tuesday. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles from the center.

Flossie is moving to the west at about 18 mph and is expected to move in the same direction through Tuesday with some decrease in forward speed. Afterward, Flossie is expected to make a turn to the west-northwest and maintain that direction through Friday.

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Flossie is on a more northward track than Erick, and although the storm is still far to the east, could take a track that affects Hawaii. Flossie is expected to move into the Central Pacific late Friday.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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