UPDATE: Olaf Strengthens to Category 4 Hurricane
***Updated at 11 a.m. to include National Weather Service information.***
By: Meterorlogist Malika Dudley
As of 11 a.m. the National Hurricane Center reports that Hurricane Olaf has reached category 4 hurricane status with maximum sustained winds near 130 mile per hour.
Additional strengthening is forecast Monday night with fluctuations in strength expected over the next couple of days.
The system is moving west near 12 mph with a turn to the west-northwest expected Tuesday followed by a jog to the northwest on Wednesday.
On its current track, Hurricane Olaf is not expected to get close enough to affect the state. However, as with all tropical systems, these forecasts have a high degree of uncertainty and Big Island Now will continue to monitor the storms progress and any changes that may occur.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles from the
center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles.
***Original story posted at 7:51 a.m.***
By: Jamilia Epping
Hurricane Olaf reached major hurricane status, as of the National Hurricane Center’s 5 a.m. advisory Monday. The category 3 hurricane, holding maximum sustained winds of 115 miles per hour, is the sixth major hurricane in the eastern Pacific during the 2015 season.
NHC officials say that Hurricane Olaf is the farthest south that a major hurricane has formed in the Pacific Basin since “reliable records” began in 1971.
As of 5 a.m., Hurricane Olaf was about 1,345 miles east-southeast of Hilo, traveling at a rate of about 14 mph in a west direction.
Forecasters believe that Hurricane Olaf will continue to travel along its current westerly path throughout Monday before turning west-northwest Monday night and holding that path into Tuesday and throughout Wednesday.
In addition, Hurricane Olaf is expected to continue to strengthen throughout Monday, with potential fluctuations in intensity on Tuesday.
Hurricane Olaf is expected to cross over into the Central Pacific Hurricane Center’s area of responsibility Monday night.
Big Island Now will continue to track and monitor Hurricane Olaf.