Rare Dual Hurricane Threat for Hawaii
Not one but two different hurricanes are threatening to strike America’s 50th state this week as Hurricanes Madeline and Lester bear down on Hawaii.
Madeline is the closest to Hawaii, which as of early Tuesday morning was less than 600 miles east of Hilo, the biggest city on Hawaii’s Big Island. Packing maximum sustained winds of 125 miles-per-hour (MPH), Madeline rapidly intensified on Monday to Category 3 (major) status on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Madeline’s track, however, is even more ominous, with the current National Hurricane Center projection taking it just south of the Big Island although as a very near pass as a Category 1 or 2 hurricane.
Hurricane Watches were posted for Hawaii’s Big Island on Monday, and a Flash Flood Watch was issued for the same area as well for Wednesday and Thursday.
Just on Madeline’s tail is even stronger Hurricane Lester, with maximum sustained winds on Tuesday morning of an astonishing 140 MPH making it a Category 4 storm, the second-highest level on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Lester could impact Hawaii this weekend, and the National Hurricane Center’s projections take it also into Hawaii.
Even with its location in the heart of the Pacific Ocean tropical belt, only two hurricanes have made landfall on Hawaii since records began in 1949 (Dot 1959 and Iniki in 1992), and no hurricane has ever made a direct landfall on the Big Island. That may change this week in dramatic fashion.
For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Chris Bianchi