Tropical Storm Ana Could Impact Hawaii Early Saturday
A tropical storm in the central Pacific Ocean could affect Hawaii as soon as the early morning hours of Saturday. Ana is packing winds of 60-mph and is likely to become a low-end Category 1 hurricane late early Friday. The latest information from the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, based in Honolulu, Hawaii, has the storm centered about 500 miles southeast of Hilo. Currently, the storm is moving nearly due west at 10-mph and has a minimum central pressure of 1000 millibars.
The development of a strong ridge to the north of the system is expected to keep Ana on it’s westerly course in the short-term. And the latest suite of models present a tightly-clustered solution of possible tracks, meaning — through early Friday — Ana’s path won’t be difficult to pinpoint.
The storm had been nearing hurricane strength on Wednesday, but encountered some wind shear though early Thursday. That shear caused the storm to lose some of its steam, but it looks like Ana is now moving into a more favorable environment for davelopment.
Forecast models also continue indicate with light wind shear and abundantly warm waters in the area, so a decent amount of strengthening is likely. The current model solutions have sustained winds peaking over 90-mph early Friday morning. And some gusts in the eyewall could reach up to 115-mph.
That said, in the 24 hours prior to impacting the Hawaiian Islands, Ana could encounter some additional vertical wind shear. Even moderate amounts of wind shear could help to weaken the storm as it nears a possible landfall on the Big Island.
On it’s current track, Ana could skirt the southern tip of Hawai’i, early Saturday morning, before nearing the Island of Oahu about 24 hours later. This means the entire island chain could have a protracted encounter with Ana; bringing tropical storm conditions for nearly two days.
Tropical storm watches have been issued for the entire Big Island.
The length of the time Ana could spend over the Hawaiian Islands also raises concerns about huge amounts of rain and the possibility of flash flooding an mudslides. There are a number of meteorological variables at play that could change the mid-range forecast in the next day or two.
WeatherNation meteorologists will be keeping a close watch on this fluid situation and we’ll bring you the latest information as it becomes available.
Meteorologist Alan Raymond