Hurricane Guillermo is slowly starting to move on a more northwestward track toward the Hawaiian Islands and continues to show signs of weakening, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.
The latest models bring the storm near or possibly directly over the islands on Wednesday and Thursday. Heavy rainfall and gusty winds between 35-40 mph are forecast for those days.
As of 5 p.m. Sunday, the storm is 720 miles east-southeast of Hilo with maximum sustained winds at 85 mph (previously at a high of 105 mph) with higher gusts.
Guillermo continues to move west-northwest at 10 mph and is expected to weaken into a tropical storm as it nears the islands. Increasing vertical wind shear and upper level northwesterly winds aid the disruption of the outward flow of the storm and will continue to do so over the next couple of days.
As the storm moves closer to Hawaii, the National Weather Service may issue watches as early as Monday morning for portions of the state. It is still too soon to determine which islands will experience the greatest impacts from Guillermo.
Large swells traveling ahead of Hurricane Guillermo will spread from east to west over the Hawaiian Islands through Monday. Surf will steadily build along east-facing shores and will likely become large and potentially life-threatening starting on Monday.
Summary of 5 p.m. information
- Location: 15.5N 145.0W
- About 725 miles ESE of Hilo
- Maximum sustained winds: 85 mph
- Present movement: WNW at 10 mph
- Minimum central pressure: 981 mb
The “hurricane hunters” of the U.S. Air Force 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron conducted its first reconnaissance early Sunday at 4 a.m. as they flew through the storm. Crews dropped special sensors known as dropsondes into the storm to measure wind speeds, pressure and temperature.
The three-plane squadron did two passes through the storm, and according to their findings, the eye of the storm is about 30 miles long.
The squadron will do round-the-clock observations every 12 hours, and as Guillermo gets closer to Hawaii, a plane will leave every nine hours.