Will Hurricane Ignacio Hit Hawaii? The Category 4 Storm Is Headed Toward The Islands

Hurricane Ignacio has likely reached its peak intensity as a Category 4 hurricane, according to Weather.com. The storm will only weaken over the next few days due to an increase in the difference of wind speed and direction as well as slightly cooler temperatures. Despite this comforting information, some are still wondering if Hurricane Ignacio will hit Hawaii or at least some of the Hawaiian Islands. Computer forecast models have consistently said that the islands should be in the clear, but that doesn't mean they won't get some strong storms.

Ignacio is one of three hurricanes active in the Pacific Ocean right now. It is joined by Kilo and Jimena, according to Weather.com. Computer forecast models predict that Ignacio will pass north of Hawaii over Monday and Tuesday, but it should not hit any of the islands directly. Despite this, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center has issued a tropical storm watch for the Big Island and Maui County. Ignacio's wind field could still be large enough to generate storm-force winds and rain along the coasts of the Big Island and Maui.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa and Hawaii Gov. David Ige have signed emergency proclamations so the islands can prepare for high winds, heavy rain, and ocean swells, according to the Associated Press. Rainfall could be the worst over mountain locations, and dangerous surf could crash against the east-facing shores of the Big Island in the next few days, according to Weather.com. Prediction models show that Ignacio should become a tropical storm late Wednesday and into Thursday, according to AccuWeather.com.

Ignacio hasn't been the first storm to threaten the Hawaiian Islands recently. Luckily, most of the storm systems have died down or changed course before directly impacting the islands. Jimena will likely remain over open waters in the Pacific, which would only pose a hazard to shipping; Kilo, which reached Category 4 status on Saturday, has remained well southwest of the islands, according to Weather.com.

On Saturday, all three hurricanes — Ignacio, Jimena, and Kilo — reached Category 4 status, marking the first recorded co-occurrence of three Category 4 hurricanes in the central and eastern Pacific basins, according to Weather.com. This hurricane season set a new record when tropical storm Loke was the fifth named storm in the central Pacific basin in one season. Scientists have said that the Pacific tropical activity can be partly attributed to "impressively warm" ocean water, according to Weather.com.