Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hilda jogs south, breathe easier

Tropical Storm Hilda jogged southward, away from the Islands, in the last 24 hours, and although it is strengthening, even the most widely diverging forecasts keep it away from the Islands.

(Image: The track of Tropical Storm Hilda in recent days shows the jog to the south in recent hours. The Big Island is displayed in upper left. Sourced: NOAA.)

Although the storm, now less than 500 miles from Hilo, is expected to take a slightly northward curve starting tomorrow, Thursday, it is now likely far enough south that the National Weather Service figures it will remain well away from the Islands.

Translation: We may get some south swell, but little wind from Hilda.

The current route takes it across Johnston Atoll on Monday, but forecasts now don't anticipate Hilda will ever reach hurricane strength. Johnston, now uninhabited, should not be endangered by the storm.

That's still not to say Hilda couldn't change direction and bite us. Hurricane Iwa in 1982 swept northward from the southwest to slam Kaua'i.

But forecasters don't anticipate that will happen.

In what is turning out to be a very active hurricane season, Hawai'i may dodge another bullet.

© Jan TenBruggencate 2009

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