Tropical Cyclones may hit Hawaii over the next two weeks according to forecasters. Hurricane Iselle recently achieved Category 4 status and Tropical Storm (TS) Julio is not far behind it. Both storms are on a predicted path toward Hawaii. Even Japan is facing a typhoon which reached Category 5 status over the weekend and is making its way north in the eastern Pacific region.
Jason Samenow of The Washington Post reported Hawaii may be looking at double trouble when it comes to two tropical cyclones heading that way. Although Hurricane Iselle is reported as having winds of up to 140 mph as of Monday, forecasters believe the hurricane should lose power by the time it hits Hawaii. Still, it is reported as having a well-defined eye with “textbook symmetry.”
The Weather Channel stated Hurricane Iselle became the third major hurricane in the Eastern Pacific basin on August 3, and was the fourth hurricane to hit the Pacific Ocean this year. In fact, it bypassed the status of forming as a tropical depression and was reported as a tropical storm near the southwest tip of Baja California on July 31. Though it swayed between Category 2 and Category 3 status over the weekend, Hurricane Iselle is projected to become a tropical storm by the time it hits Hawaii. Even so, The Weather Channel believes it should produce big swells for eastern coasts of the islands.
Tropical Storm Julio is projected to hit near Hawaii the following week depending on its strengthening or weakening power. Samenow stated the storm may lose its intensity if it follows the same path as Hurricane Iselle. This would be due to cooler waters impacting the storm, as well as whether or not TS Julio strays from its projected pathway.
Tropical cyclones may hit Hawaii, but the lower portion of the Pacific Ocean has been quite busy with tropical storm activity this year. On August 1, Phys.org posted an image taken by the GOES-West satellite of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which shows a “train” of low pressure systems. There have been five systems that have occupied much of the eastern and western Pacific. These systems were identified as “System 91c,” “Genevieve Remnants” (formerly a TS), “System 96 E,” “Tropical Storm Iselle,” and “Developing Low Pressure Area” (which became TS Julio).
Not only do weather forecasters have their hands full with five tropical systems along the equator of the Pacific Ocean, but Typhoon Halong is making its way towards Japan in the Pacific region too. Andrew Freeman of Mashable wrote how this system became a Category 5 over the weekend, and may be the most “intense-if not the strongest- storm” of 2014. It is expected to hit Japan’s landfall on August 9 as a Category 1 typhoon.
Though tropical cyclones may hit Hawaii and Japan later this week and into next week, these cyclones may become weakened systems which are still projected to hit landfall and impact major coastlines. Is this due to a current El Nino system? Samenow of The Washington Post, who holds a BA and MS in Atmospheric Science, commented in his report that since the Eastern Pacific has been quite active this year, the “El Nino wannabe” could be considered as playing a major role in these tropical system developments.
By Liz Pimentel