Hurricane Erick, which was a Category 4 hurricane yesterday, has lost a lot of punch and a well defined presentation on satellite. Nevertheless, it continues on its journey near Hawaii which will see gusty showers from outer bands of the storm on Thursday into Friday.
In the latest advisory from the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, Erick was a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph. The center of Hurricane Erick was located roughly 400 miles southeast of Hilo on Hawaii’s Big Island. On this trajectory, the center of Erick will pass well south of the Hawaiian Islands. However, because it’s cloud shield and moisture field is wide, rain showers and possibly thunderstorms will form as the northern fringes of this system brush against the state. Higher terrain on Hawaii Island, namely Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, will set up an atmospheric dam of sorts, collecting most moisture and raining it out on the eastern side of Hawaii while it protects the west side from seeing much. While the core of Erick’s strongest winds will pass well south of Hawaii, some showers and storms could create windy gusts at times, especially as the circulation blows air through the narrow “Saddle Area” between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. Based on the forecast path, no hurricane force nor tropical storm force sustained winds are expected at all in Hawaii.
Rain, enhanced by the lift generated by the volcanic mountains, could be heavy at times. Isolated flash flooding is possible; however, an island-wide significant flood event is not expected. Nevertheless, the National Weather Service in Honolulu, Hawaii has issued a Flash Flood Watch for Hawaii Island beginning Thursday afternoon. Some isolated areas could see 4-6″ of rain.
We checked out the @Costco in Kona on Hawaii’s Big Island to see how people are preparing ahead of #Erick & #Flossie. Store is empty of people but filled w/water & other supplies. Locals tell us gas lines are normal, so no busy rush ahead of tomorrow’s impacts. #HIwx pic.twitter.com/Q6EkfajJSE
— the Weatherboy (@theWeatherboy) July 31, 2019
Swells generated by Erick have started to arrive in Hawaii; dangerous surf conditions will exist, mainly along east facing shores. On Hawaii’s Big Island, Civil Defense has closed some beach parks; access to the South Point area is also restricted to residents only.
After a brief break in the weather this weekend, eyes will return to Hawaii to see Flossie’s arrival 4-5 days after Erick’s. Flossie, located in the Central Pacific too, could have more direct impacts to Hawaii than Erick. However, it is still too early to say what those are at this time.