At 5:00 a.m. today, the National Weather Service issued a Tropical Storm Watch for the Big Island because of Hurricane Ignacio. Ignacio, currently a Category 3 Hurricane with sustained windsos 115 miles per hour near its core, is still predicted to pass a little to the north of the Hawaii Island chain.
“Hurricane force winds extended outwards from the center up to 35 miles and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 105 miles,” noted Hawaii Civil Defense.
A Tropical Storm Watch means tropical storm conditions are possible within 48 hours. This may include high surf and surge, strong winds, and heavy rains.
At the time the watch was issued the storm’s center was approximately 625 miles east/southeast of Hilo and moving in a west/northwest direction at 8 miles per hour.
High Surf Advisory has been issued for both the east and west facing shores of Hawaii Island effective from 6:00 a.m. this morning through 6:00 p.m. tomorrow evening, as waves from both from both Ignacio and former Typhoon Atsani collide in waters near Hawaii Island. Surf heights of 5 to 8 feet can be expected on Saturday, and 10 to 14 feet on Sunday.
“Residents in low lying coastal areas and boat owners are advised to take necessary precautions and to complete all preparations by noon today. Emergency personnel will be conducting door to door notifications in surf and surge vulnerable areas of Kapoho in the Puna District and parts of Hilo.”
The National Weather Service is forecasting “Tropical Storm Conditions Possible,” from Sunday night through Tuesday. The most current forecast map, below now, shows Ignacio’s core maintaining hurricane strength winds until it’s north of Kauai on Wednesday.
The storm watch area currently covers only Hawaii County, but According to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, “Watches may required for additional islands later today or tonight.”
The NOAA satellite image below shows Ignacio now with the well-defined eye of a major hurricane:
This image map shows the predicted path of the storm. Note, however, that the conical shape is the “cone of probability,” for the storm path, not the actual size of the storm, which is shown in the satellite image above.