Big Island spared from Hector

HILO — Hasta luego, Hurricane Hector.

Hector was a Category 3 hurricane when it passed about 160 miles south of South Point Wednesday afternoon, too far out to have any significant impact on Hawaii Island.

ADVERTISING


As of 5 p.m., Hector was about 235 miles south-southwest of Hilo, with maximum sustained winds of 135 mph and moving west at 16 mph.

“It’s still supposed to take a gradual turn to the northwest, once it has passed the islands,” Melissa Dye, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said Wednesday afternoon.

According to the weather service, rain bands associated with Hector are moving across the windward and southeast coastal waters of the Big Island, and enhanced rainfall from deep tropical moisture surrounding Hector is forecast to affect the Puna, Ka‘u and North and South Hilo districts through today.

Surf heights of almost 20 feet were reported on the southeast side of the Big Island Wednesday afternoon from swells generated by Hector, and large surf was forecast into today.

Hawaii weather forecasters also were eyeing two storms far away in the Eastern Pacific.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Tropical Storm Kristy was more than 1,700 miles east-southeast of Hilo. Asked if the storm, which was packing maximum sustained winds of 45 miles an hour, was of concern to forecasters in Hawaii, Dye replied, “Not at this point.”

“It looks like it’s going to turn into a (tropical) depression once it gets into a less favorable environment,” she said.

Hurricane John also continued to weaken off the coast of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. It was a Category 1 hurricane as of Wednesday afternoon, but it’s expected to gradually fade into tropical storm status sometime today and to deteriorate into a tropical depression by the weekend.

The county’s walk-in voting sites at Pahoa and Pahala community centers, which were closed Wednesday because of the hurricane threat, will be open today, according to the Office of Elections.

Today is the final day of absentee walk-in voting islandwide. Saturday is primary election day.

ADVERTISING


The Disaster Recovery Center for those affected by the Kilauea lava emergency also reopened today at Pahoa Community Center.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.