UPDATE: Tropical Storm Ela Tracks North
*** Updated at 2:35 p.m. to include information from the Central Pacific Hurricane Center’s 2 p.m. update. ***
As of 2 p.m. Thurday, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Ela is 545 miles to the east-northeast of Hilo, moving only a total of 10 miles since the center’s 11 a.m. update.
Ela continues to move in a northwest direction at 12 miles per hour. Maximum wind strength remains at 40 to 65 mph.
CPHC has updated its forecast on two other storms in the Central Pacific.
An area of persistent low pressure about 950 miles to the southwest of Honolulu has an 80 percent chance of forming. According to CPHC, the center of the storm has been partially exposured throughout most of Thursday. Thunderstorms continue and signs of additional organization continue. The storm is expected to become a tropical depression as it moves to the west-northwest over the next 48 hours.
A third storm in the area, located about 620 miles south of Hilo, has begun to organize. CPHC forecasts that the storm will continue slow development over the next 48 hours with a 40 percent chance of forming.
***Updated at 11:10 a.m. to include the Central Pacific Hurricane Center’s 11 a.m. update. ***
The Central Pacific Hurricane Center reports that Tropical Storm Ela is 555 miles to the east of Hilo. Winds remain at a maximum of 40 to 65 miles per hour.
According to CPHC, the storm is moving in a northwest direction at about 12 mph.
***Original story posted at 8:57 a.m.***
Tropical Storm Ela formed late Wednesday night from Tropical Depression Four-E. The Central Pacific Hurricane Center’s 8 a.m. Tropical Weather Outlook notes that Ela is currently 575 miles to the east of Hilo.
The storm system is still forecasted to weaken and pass north of the island chain over the weekend, as it continues to track in that direction. Winds are currently at a maximum of 40 to 65 miles per hour as Ela moves in a northwest direction at 13 miles per hour, slightly slower than speeds seen on Wednesday.
As a result of the nearby storm, breezy winds, low clouds, and passing showers should be expected in windward and mauka areas of the Big Island. Muggy weather on Saturday and Sunday with light winds are in forecast for the weekend as the storm pushes over a large area of tropical moisture. Southerly swells that were peaking Wednesday are expected to slowly decline as Thursday progresses. Southwest swells on the other hand should boost surf heights again along south facing shores on Friday and throughout the weekend. Surf heights are not forecasted to be above advisory level.
Two additional storm systems in the central pacific continue to be watched by the CPHC.
An area of low pressure about 925 miles to the southwest of Honolulu is experiencing showers and thunderstorm. CPHC says environmental conditions are expected to remain conducive for gradual development of this storm system as it moves to the west-northwest over the next 48 hours. The chances of the system forming is 60 percent, according to CPHC.
A second area of low pressure, about 600 miles to the south of Hilo, is also experiencing showers and thunderstorms. CPHC says the chance of the storm forming over the next two days is low at 20 percent.