11 A.M. UPDATE: Ana Closing In on Hurricane Status
***This story was updated at 11:10 a.m. to include new information from the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.***
Tropical Storm Ana is expected to steer toward the Hawaiian Islands in the next 12 to 24 hours.
According to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center’s 11 a.m. advisory, Ana is maintaining maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour and is moving to the west at nine miles per hour.
Ana is currently 625 miles southeast of Hilo and 680 miles southeast of Kailua-Kona. In the next day, forecasters say that the storm is expected to shift to the northwest, thanks to a deep layer ridge located to its north. CPHC also says that its newest update calls for an increase in speed from the system.
Current forecast models show Ana peaking in intensity by Friday. Forecasters expect the storm to top off at wind speeds of 90 miles per hour early Friday and slowly weakening in the following days as the tropical storm hits an increasing vertical shear.
The latest cone projection shows Tropical Storm Ana reaching the Big Island between late Friday night and early Saturday morning as a hurricane. The center of the storm is expected to wrap around the southern end of the island. Ana is then projected to pass south of Maui early Saturday before reaching Oahu early Sunday morning. It is expected to weaken to tropical storm status when it reaches Kauai on Monday morning.
***Original story posted at 7:36 a.m.***
The Central Pacific Hurricane Center expects Tropical Storm Ana to become a hurricane later today or tonight.
In the CPHC advisory, issued at 5 a.m, Ana is located 675 miles southeast of Hilo and 730 miles east-southeast of Kailua-Kona. The storm is holding maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour and moving to the west at nine miles per hour.
Forecast discussion says that Ana is continuing to strengthen and will gain hurricane status because of the relatively light shearing in its path and warm waters below.
In the discussion, forecaster Sam Houston notes that “the latest CIRA ocean heat content analyses along the projected track show the value will ramp up during the 48 to 72 hour period…so there should be plenty of ocean warmth available to the system while its surface winds are very strong.”
While the peak of the storm’s intensity should be reached either Thursday or Friday, forecasters call for some weakening this weekend. Landfall, especially with the Big Island, could cause the storm to lose some of its low-level circulation.
The latest cone projection, released at 5 a.m. Wednesday, projects the center of the tropical storm to clip the Big Island sometime Saturday morning before turning up towards Maui, Oahu, and Kaua’i.
CPHC says a Hurricane Watch may be posted for a portion of the island chain later Wednesday.
Closures come in as Ana closes in
A few events have already been cancelled for this weekend ahead of storm’s arrival.
Pacific Media Group’s KBIG-FM announced Wednesday that its “The Breast Walk Ever,” supporting the American Cancer Society, has been cancelled. The walk was scheduled to be held at Hilo’s Queen Liliuokalani Gardens.
Also cancelled is the Mayor’s Health Fest and Keiki Triathlon, put on by the County of Hawai’i’s Department of Parks and Recreation and the Hawai’i Isle Police Activities League. The events were to be held in Kona on Saturday. The County said it is shifting its focus to public safety and keeping people off of the roads.
***Note: Pacific Media Group is also the parent company of Big Island Now.***