Tropical Storm Douglas has formed; it could threaten the United States by as soon as this weekend. The storm, located in the eastern Pacific, is forecast by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) to continue heading in a general westward motion closer to Hawaii. While it’s still too far out to know whether or not Douglas will bring direct impacts to Hawaii, it’s important for people there to monitor the future evolution of this storm, especially as the weekend approaches.
In the latest update from the Miami-based NHC, Douglas was located in the open waters of the eastern Pacific roughly 1,085 miles southwest of the southern tip of Baja California. With a minimum central pressure of 999 mb or 29.50 inches, Douglas’s top winds are at about 60 mph now. The system is moving to the west south west at 14 mph.
The National Hurricane Center expects Douglas to pick up strength and forward speed in the coming days. On its official forecast track from the NHC, Douglas is expected to travel to the west faster by the middle of the week. It is also forecast to strengthen into a hurricane by Wednesday.
The National Hurricane Center is predicting that Douglas will move west from the Eastern Pacific Hurricane Basin into the Central Pacific Hurricane Basin by the weekend. Once it reaches the Central Pacific Basin, it will retain the name Douglas. However, ongoing advisories, and any warnings, if needed, would be issued by the Honolulu-based Central Pacific Hurricane Center.
Global computer model forecast guidance is mixed on what will happen with Douglas over time. The American GFS model suggests the storm will gradually weaken and head south of Hawaii’s Big Island by sometime Sunday or Monday. The European ECMWF model is more pessimistic, bringing the storm into the Hawaiian Islands Sunday or Monday, perhaps as a tropical storm or worse. It is still far too early to say if either storm is correct; the NHC keeps it away from Hawaii and any other land mass through at least Saturday afternoon.
Earlier this year, the Honolulu, Hawaii – based Central Pacific Hurricane Center issued a seasonal outlook that called for a below normal or near-normal hurricane season for the central Pacific basin that surrounds Hawaii. There have been no tropical cyclone threats to Hawaii this season yet. Should Douglas change that, residents are urged to prepare well in advance of any arriving threat.
As with the Atlantic Basin, the Central Pacific Hurricane Basin that surrounds Hawaii has its hurricane season running now through to the end of November.