Madeline strengthens into Category 4 hurricane, heads toward Hawaii

Image of Hurricane Madeline captured on August 29 by NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite. Madeline, a Category 4 storm, is forecast to come "dangerously close" to Hawaii's Big Island on Wednesday, according to a Central Pacific Hurricane Center advisory. Photo courtesy of NASA Rapid Response

HONOLULU, Aug. 30 (UPI) — Two hurricanes are headed toward Hawaii, and hurricane watchers said one of them could come “dangerously close” to the Big Island on Wednesday.

Hurricane Madeline intensified into a Category 4 storm Tuesday and Hurricane Lester is a Category 3 storm several hundred miles east of Hawaii.

The Central Pacific Hurricane Center posted a hurricane watch for Hawaii Island, saying Madeline could come “dangerously close” to the Big Island on Wednesday.

A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions are possible on Hawaii Island in the next 48 hours.

President Barack Obama is scheduled to travel to Oahu on Wednesday night before the start of the World Conservation Congress, an environmental meet that will draw 8,000 delegates.

Madeline was 490 miles east of Hilo and 680 miles east of Honolulu, moving west at 9 mph with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph. Hurricane-force winds extend 30 miles from the center and tropical storm-force winds go out 125 miles from the center.

A high surf warning was issued for the east-facing shores of Maui from Tuesday morning to 6 a.m. Thursday. The east shores of Kauai, Oahu, Molokai and west Maui are under a high surf advisory.

A flash flood watch also is posted for Hawaii Island on Wednesday and Thursday.

The weather service estimates Hilo has a 7 percent chance of seeing hurricane-force winds and a 63 percent chance of tropical storm-force winds.

Air Force reserve hurricane hunter planes will fly through the storm Tuesday.

Madeline may follow a track similar to Iselle’s in August 2014 — the second tropical storm of record to hit the Big Island, according to Weather Underground.

Hurricane Lester is 1,435 miles east of Hilo and might arrive over the Hawaiian Islands over the Labor Day weekend.

Lester’s maximum sustained winds are 125 mph. It is traveling westward at close to 14 mph.

The National Hurricane Center, which is issuing advisories on Hurricane Lester, predicts some weakening over the next 48 hours.

Lester is projected to pass into the Central Pacific Hurricane Center’s jurisdiction Wednesday.


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