It’s a news story that has kept the residents of Hawaii on their feet as they watch Hurricane Hector trekking through the Pacific Ocean in the direction of the islands. While the latest reports show the hurricane moving south of Hawaii rather than hitting the island directly, experts warn that tourists and residents should still prepare for its impact.

With wind gusts estimated to hit as high as 160 mph, Hurricane Hector had many local residents concerned about the fate of the island as they continue to recover from the recent eruption of Kilauea. The volcano caused havoc on the small island, covering more than 12 square miles with thick, black lava, destroying over 700 homes, and triggering fires and lava bombs resulting in the evacuation of countless residents.

Luckily for those that call the island home, while the hurricane will certainly pass close to the island, the center of the storm will be far enough south that the impact will be far less than originally believed. On Sunday the National Hurricane Center related a statement that the Category 4 storm was 1130 miles east-southeast of the southern point of Hawaii, however, they warned, this doesn’t mean that tourists and residents on the island can consider themselves to be in the clear.

“While the official forecast track continues to lie south of the Hawaiian Islands, only a slight deviation to the north of the forecast track would significantly increase potential impacts on the Hawaiian Islands,” they warned. “Now is a good time for everyone in the Hawaiian Islands to ensure that they have their hurricane plan in place.”

With the storm passing to the south of the island today and into tomorrow, officials say that the island has avoided the worst of the storm’s destruction, however, anytime that a major storm passes that close to an island or coastline we need to pay careful attention to the periphery effects. The storm will have an impact on the safety of the waterways and beaches. Both resident and tourists are cautioned about the possibility of dangerous surf conditions and currents. Some reports estimate that the swells produced from Hector may reach heights of 12 to 15 feet, especially along the Puna and Kau districts of the Big Island.

On the outer edges of the storm, officials are warning that bands of heavy rain are possible, which would pass over the island. Risks of flash flooding are possible, and residents are urged to take preventative steps where necessary. Warnings of a potential tropical storm for some parts of the island have been issued, especially in the southern tip and the eastward-facing costs. This could bring tropical-storm-force-winds today to these areas, estimated to reach higher than 39 mph.

People in the area are urged to pay attention to weather warnings and forecasts, as well as to heed any local warnings, advisories, and beach postings.

Image via Weather Boy

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