Hurricane Olivia continues to weaken

  • This map issued 5 p.m. Friday shows the five-day forecast track for Hurricane Olivia. (National Hurricane Center/Special to West Hawaii Today)

KAILUA-KONA — Hurricane Olivia continued to weaken Friday, but the Hawaiian Islands still remain within the hurricane’s probable track.

As of 5 p.m. Friday, Olivia was circulating 100 mph winds as it churned some 1,290 miles east of Hilo, according to forecasters with the Miami-based National Hurricane Center. The still-Category 2 storm was moving west-northwest at 15 mph as of Friday evening.

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Forecasters say a slow weakening trend is expected to continue over the next few days despite low wind shear conditions thanks to fairly cool sea surface temperatures, which are around 77-79 degrees.

The storm’s expected to continue tracking west-northwest through Saturday and enter the Central Pacific basin, which is where Hawaii is located, around that time, forecasters said. Late Saturday or Sunday, the storm’s expected to make a turn toward the west or west-southwest as a ridge builds north to the north.

On the current forecast track, Olivia is expected to approach the Hawaiian Islands in four to five days, forecasters said.

By Tuesday evening, current forecast models have Olivia downgraded to a tropical storm, spinning 65 mph winds about 169 miles east-northeast of Hilo. By Wednesday evening, the storm’s expected to have about 50 mph winds some 145 miles west of Kailua-Kona.

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Behind Olivia in the Eastern Pacific, forecasters are keeping tabs on an elongated area of low pressure located several hundred miles south-southwest of the southern tip of Baja California peninsula that continues to produce disorganized showers and thunderstorms. Environmental conditions are expected be conducive for development, and a tropical depression is expected to form over the weekend while the system moves slowly west-northwestward.

Meanwhile closer to Hawaii, Tropical Storm Norman continued to move north-northwest away from the islands. As of 5 p.m. Friday, the former hurricane featured 70 mph winds and was located about 390 miles northeast of Honolulu.