Hurricane Felicia has rapidly intensified over the last 24 hours in the Eastern Pacific hurricane basin; it is forecast to enter the Central Pacific Hurricane Basin over time and could bring impacts to Hawaii.
As of the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami, Florida, which is responsible for advisories for Eastern Pacific tropical cyclones, the center of Hurricane Felicia was located near latitude 15.2 North, longitude 119.4 West. Felicia is moving toward the west near 10 mph. A gradual turn to the west-southwest is expected by Friday with this motion expected to continue over the next 48 hours.
Felicia’s maximum sustained winds have increased to near 100 mph with higher gusts. Felicia has rapidly intensified over the past day or so, and according to the NHC, additional strengthening is expected through early Friday. Some slow weakening is possible by this weekend. However, the National Hurricane Center forecast keeps it at hurricane intensity throughout its five day forecast.
Beyond 5 days, global computer weather model forecasts bring the storm close to Hawaii. The European ECMWF model suggests most of the energy from the system will pass south of Hawaii around July 25, with some moisture impacting Hawaii and perhaps Maui islands. The American GFS model suggests more significant impacts, with the center of the system, or what’s left of it, coming directly to Hawaii’s Big Island. In addition to wind-whipped heavy rain on the Big Island, it brings a substantial rains to most of the state around July 25. Neither computer forecast model suggests that Felicia will be a strong tropical cyclone when it approaches the state, but a lot can happen between now and then and no extended forecast for a tropical cyclone is ever etched in stone.
When the storm passes west across the 140 west longitude line, the NHC will transition tracking and advisory issues for this storm to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. Because Felicia formed in the eastern Pacific, it will keep its name Felicia when it heads west of 140 west and will not be given a Hawaiian name.