It is a very busy week for the United States: three tropical cyclones are expected to impact it in the coming days. Multiple, nearly simultaneous impacts could stretch federal response resources. FEMA Administrator Brock Long Tweeted, “I can’t recall a time when so many storms have threatened the U.S. in such a short time frame. Between Olivia, Florence, and several other storms in both Atlantic and Pacific, we all must do everything we can to be ready.” He added, “Don’t wait or assume that you won’t be affected by any of the many storms currently brewing in the oceans. We’re in the height of hurricane season.”
The first storm to impact the United States will be Typoon Mangkhut. While forecasts on Friday called for the storm to make a direct impact to Guam, it appears Saipan and the Northern Mariana Islands may bare the brunt of this powerful storm. With winds of 110mph now, it is the strongest of the storms expected to impact the U.S. this week. Maximum sustained winds are expected to increase to 125mph as the storm approaches Guam and nearby Micronesian islands. According to the National Weather Service office in Guam, winds should begin to rise Monday afternoon, reach a maximum intensity Monday night, and begin to subside on Tuesday morning. Seas are expected to be in excess of 30 feet which will prove problematic to coastal areas that are only a few feet above sea level. Extremely heavy rain will lead to rockfalls and landslides on the islands. Impacts could reach catastrophic proportions.
The next part of the United States to be hit will be Hawaii. Hurricane Olivia is forecast to approach the Aloha State this week, with the center of the storm forecast to impact the Big Island on early Wednesday morning. Some tropical storm force winds could impact Hawaii and Maui county as soon as Tuesday evening. Residents in Hawaii are being urged to execute their Hurricane Action Plan and to re-supply any hurricane supplies they may have consumed when Hurricane Lane impacted the state last month. In Hawaii, officials recommend that everyone have at least 2 weeks worth of water, non-perishable food, and medicine handy should supply routes be impacted by the storm.
The third potential impact to the United States could happen as soon as Thursday night with Hurricane Florence. In the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Florence is projected to impact North Carolina sometime late Thursday or early Friday. While the forecast is not definite and Florence could curve out to sea or move further up the Mid Atlantic coast, at the very least, indirect impacts of rough seas, beach erosion, rip currents, and coastal flooding are likely regardless of the exact future track the system takes.
While these three impacts are expected this week, the season isn’t over yet. The 2018 Central Pacific and Atlantic Hurricane seasons run through the end of November and there could be additional storm threats in the coming days and weeks. Beyond Olivia in the Pacific, meteorologists are tracking Paul. In the Atlantic, meteorologists are tracking Isaac and Helene, both of which should reach hurricane status soon.