There is now double trouble in the Eastern Pacific hurricane basin, with Major Hurricane Felicia now joined by Tropical Storm Guillermo; both are inching their way closer to Hawaii. While it is still too early to know if either storm will bring direct impacts to Hawaii as a full-fledged tropical cyclone, it is possible that at least a very moist airmass associated with the storms will invade portions of the Aloha State, bringing the threat of flooding rains there in about a week.
The newest named system, Guillermo, is located about 380 miles south-southwest of the southern tip of Baja California. With maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, this system is moving to the west at 13 mph. The current minimum central pressure is estimated to be 1004 mb or 29.65″. While the National Hurricane Center expects strengthening of this tropical storm over the next day or so, it may not gain much strength beyond Monday as it inches west towards Hawaii.
The more impressive storm of the two is Major Hurricane Felicia. With maximum sustained winds of 140 mph, Felicia is a category 4 hurricane on the 5-point Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind scale. Moving west at 9 mph, this hurricane has an estimated minimum central pressure of 949 mb or 28.03″. The National Hurricane Center expects Felicia to weaken a bit for the balance of the weekend, with more substantial weakening early in the new week. While it’s ferocious, it is also tiny: hurricane force winds only extend outward up to 15 miles while tropical storm force winds extend out to 45 miles.
While both storms are still far away from Hawaii,they are getting the attention of local officials and media. State and local agencies in Hawaii are encouraging people to prepare for Felicia or any tropical cyclone threat that could present itself this season. “HIEMA is monitoring Hurricane Felicia, though it is still too early to tell what impact, if any, it will have on our islands,” said the state Emergency Management Agency in a social media post yesterday. The Honolulu Department of Emergency Management, responsible for Oahu Island, wrote on social media, “Hurricane Felicia, although quite far from the Hawaiian Islands, is a reminder that we are still early into the 2021 Hurricane Season and we must remain alert and prepared. ” Today’s “West Hawaii Today”, one of two newspapers published on the island of Hawaii, ran the hurricane as it’s front-page headline on Saturday.
Global computer model forecasts suggest the storm will get close to Hawaii, but not impact it as a strong tropical cyclone at this time. However, moisture associated with these storms could bring the chance for flooding rains across portions of the state, especially Hawaii and Maui islands which could be closest . Any interaction with Hawaii, either direct or indirect, is roughly a week away from occurring.