ROANOKE, Va – Vacationers to and residents of Hawaii want to play extra close attention to the forecast over the coming days. A powerful category 4 hurricane is expected to move very close to the Island chain by the middle of the week.
As of 8:00 a.m. eastern time Monday, category 4 Hurricane Hector was about 1,000 miles to the east of the Big Island. While the center of Hector and its core of strongest winds are expected to remain offshore, heavy rain and hurricane-force wind gusts are possible on the islands.
Some weakening is forecast as it makes its approach.
The Pacific as a whole has been very active and is staying that way. Two more named storms, tropical storms John and Ileana, are churning right behind Hector.
Both of those storms are expected to strengthen and move north toward the Baja peninsula.
After a quick start to the Atlantic hurricane season, things have been pretty quiet. The next six weeks are typically the most active in the Atlantic basin. We just entered the Cape Verde season, the part of the Atlantic season where storms that roll off of Africa become more likely to materialize into tropical cyclones. To this point, that part of the world has remained quiet in terms of tropical development. One of the likely main factors has been the presence of Saharan dust. Dust from the African desert is blown out over the Atlantic, inhibiting tropical development. The orange on the satellite image below depicts the dust.
There is still a long way to go in hurricane season, but as long as that dust remains present, it's going to be hard to get a storm going in that part of the world.