Major Hurricane Hector is getting stronger and larger, prompting emergency management officials in Hawaii to urge people there to prepare for possible impacts.
In the latest update from the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, the well defined eye of Major Hurricane Hector was located near ear latitude 14.2 North, longitude 133.7 West. Hector is moving toward the west near 12mph and this motion is expected to continue for the next few days. On the forecast track, Hector will cross into the central Pacific basin early Monday. At that time, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center within Honolulu’s National Weather Service office will take on forecasting responsibility for the storm.
Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 130mph with higher gusts. Hector is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Short-term fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next few days, but Hector is expected to be near major hurricane intensity for the next 2 or 3 days. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles. The estimated minimum central pressure is 957 mb (28.26 inches).
“We are ready,” says Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno. After a meeting in which Civil Defense briefed residents of Volcano on the latest on Kilauea’s eruption this week, Magno told our meteorologist there, “We’re already dealing with three emergencies: two distinct volcano responses and a wildfire by Waikoloa.” The two responses Magno is referring to is the eruption of lava and gas in the Lower East Rift Zone which is covering land with lava and summit seismic activity more than 20 miles away, which is damaging the only highway, Highway 11, on the east side of the island. Magno is confident his team is ready to deal with a potential impact from the hurricane.
“Hector is our first hurricane this year. We want to remind the public we are in the middle of the hurricane season and we urge people to take the weekend to prepare their homes and families for impacts that could be felt statewide,” said Tom Travis, Administrator of Emergency Management for Hawaii. His team recommends that residents and visitors follow these steps this weekend ahead of a possible arrival of Hector during the middle of the upcoming week:
• Prepare an “emergency kit” of a minimum of 14 days of food, water and other supplies.
• Talk with family members and develop a clear understanding what you will do if a hurricane or tropical storm threatens. Prepare an action plan that includes details such as whether your family plans to shelter in place or evacuate.
• Know if your home is in an inundation zone, flood zone, or susceptible to high winds and other hazards. Know if your home is retrofitted with hurricane resistant clips or straps.
• Stay tuned to local media and their websites/applications regarding weather updates.
• Sign up for local notification systems
• Get to know your neighbors and community so you can help each other.
• Walk your property and check for potential flood threats. Clear your gutters and other drainage systems. Remove and secure loose items. Keep your car gas tanks filled.
• Prepare your pets by checking or purchasing a carrier and other preparedness items. A pet carrier is necessary for your pet’s safety if you plan to evacuate to a pet-friendly shelter. Don’t forget 14 days of food and water for your furry family members.
• Set aside an emergency supply of any needed medication and keep a copy of your prescriptions in case you run out of medication after a disaster.
• Secure your important documents in protective containers.
• Visitors should download GoHawaii App and read the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s Travel Safety Brochure.
• Build an emergency kit – NOW.
It is still too soon to say with certainty how Hurricane Hector will impact Hawaii. It is becoming likely that at least the Big Island of Hawaii will see rough surf from the storm; it’s possible wind-swept rains are possible elsewhere in the state depending on the exact future track of the storm. It is unlikely Hector would impact Hawaii before Tuesday evening, and even if it did then, only tropical storm force winds would be close enough to brush the Big Island.