Tropical Storm Miriam and Tropical Storm Norman are both heading west over the open waters of the Pacific Ocean, heading in the general direction of Hawaii. However, the state which was brushed by Hurricane Hector and impacted hard by Hurricane Lane in recent weeks and days, can take a sigh of relief with one of these storms: Miriam is forecast to miss Hawaii. Unfortunately, Hawaii may not be so lucky with Norman.
Tropical Storm Miriam is forecast to become a hurricane by Thursday.Maximum sustained winds are near 70 mph with higher gusts, just 5mph shy of hurricane strength. Some slight strengthening is possible during the next day or so; the National Hurricane Center expects Miriam to become a hurricane by Thursday. However, it’s life as a hurricane will be short lived. The storm is expected to move north over colder waters, with steady weakening expected to begin on Friday. With the storm weakening and moving north, Hawaii should not see any impacts from this storm.
Tropical Storm Norman has the potential to be the larger and more threatening of the two storms. The center of Tropical Storm Norman was located near latitude 17.8 North, longitude 115.7 West in the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center. Norman is moving toward the west-northwest near 10 mph , but a gradual turn to the west and west-southwest is anticipated during the next several days. Such a path keeps the storm over warm waters of the Pacific, and unlike Miriam, puts it east of Hawaii at the end of the five day forecast cone. Maximum sustained winds are near 65 mph with higher
gusts. The National Hurricane Center says rapid strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours and Norman is expected to become a hurricane later today and possibly a major hurricane on Thursday. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center while the estimated minimum central pressure is 994 mb (29.36 inches).
Global forecast guidance has been inconsistent with where Norman may go in the days ahead. None show the storm approaching Hawaii sooner than September 6. However, some runs, such as yesterday afternoon’s European ECMWF model, suggested a direct hit to the Big Island with secondary impacts to Maui. Today, though, both the latest American GFS forecast model and European ECMWF model show the storm tracking harmlessly to the north of the islands. Clarity in the forecast track won’t exist until Miriam exits the area and a better understanding of the Pacific weather pattern is known. As such, accurate forecasts of whether or not an impact on Hawaii is really possible won’t be within reach prior to the start of September.
Nevertheless, people in Hawaii should be prepared for the next hurricane, whether it’s Norman or some other future storm. Hurricane season runs through to the end of November and additional tropical cyclones are possible through then. If people used supplies during Hurricane Lane or Hurricane Hector, they should replenish those stocks well ahead of any new hurricane threat.