Hurricane Olivia Causes Tropical Storm Watches for Hawaii

The potential impacts of Hurricane Olivia caused the issuance of Tropical Storm Watches for Hawaii on Sunday night.  Tropical Storm Watches were issued for Oahu, Maui County including Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and Kahoolawe, and Hawaii County.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Hurricane Olivia was located at latitude 21.4°N and longitude 146.1°W which put it about 595 miles (960 km) east-northeast of Hilo, Hawaii.  Olivia was moving toward the west at 12 m.p.h. (19 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 90 m.p.h. (145 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 988 mb.

Hurricane Olivia maintained its intensity and structure on Sunday.  A circular eye persisted at the center of circulation and a ring of thunderstorms surrounded the eye.  The strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Several bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Hurricane Olivia.  Winds to hurricane force extended out about 25 miles (40 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 125 miles (200 km) from the center.

Hurricane Olivia will move through a less favorable environment during the next several days.  Olivia will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 26°C.  So, there will be enough energy in the upper ocean to support a hurricane.  However, an upper level trough north of Hawaii will produce southwesterly winds which will blow toward the top of Hurricane Olivia.  Those winds will cause more vertical wind shear and Hurricane Olivia could weaken to a tropical storm as it approaches Hawaii.

Hurricane Olivia will move south of a subtropical high pressure system over the Central Pacific Ocean.  The high is forecast to strengthen and it will steer Olivia on a west-southwesterly track.  On its anticipated track Olivia could approach Hawaii late on Tuesday.  Olivia will bring gusty winds and it could cause power outages.  Locally heavy rain and the potential for flash floods are greater risks.