Tropical Storm "Ana" reached hurricane status on Friday, October 17, and approached the Big Island of Hawaii late evening. Ana is currently producing high waves along some shorelines. Heavy rains prompted a flood advisory, strong winds caused officials to urge caution.
Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect but the system is not intensifying.
At 09:00 UTC today (23:00 local time on October 17), the center of Hurricane "Ana" was located near latitude 17.8 north, longitude 157.4 west; about 170 km (105 miles) SSW of southern coast of Big Island. Ana is moving toward the northwest near 20 km/h (13 mph) and this general motion is expected to continue through Saturday.
Maximum sustained winds were near 140 km/h (85 mph), with higher gusts. Little change in strength is expected through Saturday, with weakening expected on Sunday.
NOAA's Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) said a decrease in forward speed is expected Saturday night and Sunday, with a turn toward the west.
Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 35 km (25 miles) from the center, and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 185 km (115 miles).
The estimated minimum central pressure is 985 mb, 29.09 inches.
Heavy rainfall with total rain accumulations between 15 – 45 cm (6 and 8 inches), as well as isolated totals of 30 cm (12 inches) are possible. Heavy rain could potentially affect the other islands Saturday and Sunday.
This rainfall could cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.
NOAA's GOES-East satellite captured this image of Tropical Storm "Ana" approaching Hawaii in the Central Pacific Ocean on October 17 at 15:00 UTC. Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project
CPHC noted that large swells are expected to build over the eastern end of the main Hawaiian island chain Friday through Saturday. These large swells will continue to spread up the island chain through the weekend.
Surf produced by these swells could potentially be damaging along exposed south and southeast shorelines on Saturday and persist through the weekend in some areas.
No hurricane has landed a direct hit on Hawaii since Iniki, a Category 4 hurricane that struck in September of 1992, killing six people and causing damages estimated at $2.4 billion.
Featured image: Hurricane "Ana" on October 17, 2014. Image credit: NASA Terra/MODIS
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