Two hurricanes continue approach toward islands

  • National Hurricane Center map Hurricane Flossie's projected 5-day track as of 5 p.m. Tuesday.
  • Central Pacific Hurricane Center map Hurricane Erick's projected 5-day track as of 5 p.m. Tuesday.

There are now two hurricanes churning westward in the Pacific Ocean toward Hawaii.

At 5 p.m. today, the center of Hurricane Erick was about 1,210 miles east-southeast of Hilo. With maximum sustained winds of 130 mph and higher gusts, Erick is a Category 4 cyclone. Little change in intensity is expected overnight, but the storm is forecast to begin losing strength Wednesday followed by a more rapid weakening Thursday and Friday.

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Erick is moving toward the west-northwest at about 15 mph, and the storm is expected to continue in that general direction for the next several days.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles from the storm’s center, with tropical-storm-force winds extending outward up to 125 mph.

The forecast track has Erick passing south of the Big Island early Friday morning, but the storm is expected to bring increased rain and higher surf.

In the Eastern Pacific, the center of Hurricane Flossie was 2,250 miles east-south east of Hilo at 5 p.m. today.

The Category 1 cyclone picked up intensity today and was packing maximum sustained winds of 80 mph with higher gusts. Flossie is expected to slowly strengthen over the next few days.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles from the storm’s center, with tropical-storm-force winds extending outward up to 90 miles.

Flossie is moving to the west-northwest at about 14 mph and the storm is expected to continue in that general direction for the next few days.

The storm is taking a more northerly course than Erick’s and could hit Hawaii directly if the current forecast track continues, although if that happens, it would be early next week.

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The Pacific hurricane season is expected to last until Nov. 30.

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

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