Mother Nature is not cutting Hawaii any breaks. Ongoing lava flows are potentially going to be met with extreme winds and storm surges as weather systems in the Pacific provide yet another challenge for the state. Hurricane Hector has Hawaii in its sights, and the effects could prove challenging.
Early on Sunday as the storm headed towards Hawaii, Hector was categorized as a Category 3 storm, downgraded from a Category 4 on Saturday. It could arrive in the Central Pacific as soon as late Sunday or early Monday.
Currently the National Hurricane Center isn't positive that the islands are at risk. Rather it warns that "interests in the Hawaiian Islands should monitor the progress of Hector." If it does make land in Hawaii, Hector will be at about 125 miles per hour in strength with stronger gusts, the hurricane center said. That strength should be maintained through Monday night more or less with further weakening through Wednesday.
A Category 3 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale points to "devastating" damage. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, "well-built framed homes" might see "major damage" or lose roofs, decks, and even some walls. Roads will be blocked from the trees "snapped or uprooted." "Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes," the NOAA warns.
For comparison, Hurricane Maria, which hit Puerto Rico, was far stronger on arrival, a Category 4.
There are no guarantees the storm will even hit Hawaii, no matter what category it is. It could change course in the next hours, and even now, the current path has they eye of the storm avoiding Hawaii's big island.
"The track of the hurricane still has the center passing well south of the main Hawaiian island at this time," CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said Sunday. "It is still too soon to tell what effects this hurricane will have (if any) on the Hawaii islands."
But local and state officials are not taking anything for granted. Tom Travis, the administrator of Emergency Management in Hawaii, said to prepare now.
"Hector is our first hurricane this year," Travis said in a statement. "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."
Some of the preparation suggestions the state put together include keeping food and water supplies for two weeks in the house, check to see if your house is in an area that might flood, and coming up with a plan with the rest of the family for what to do.
Forgetting the current forecast, long-term trends suggest that Hawaii will be spared the worst of hurricane-strength speeds, according to AccuWeather.com. As hurricanes head west to the island, the tend to reach colder waters and struggle to maintain speed.
But, even if the hurricane misses Hawaii, there's likely to be a storm surge, some rain, and strong winds. For those living along the south costs of the state's various islands, the storm is expected to have some effect.
The only mystery is how strong of one.