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Hurricane Fernanda weakening as storm nears Central Pacific

Updated: 
July 19, 2017 - 9:40am

KAILUA-KONA — Hurricane Fernanda weakened to a Category 1 storm overnight and is expected to be downgraded to a tropical storm within the next 24 hours.

As of Wednesday morning, Fernanda had sustained winds of 85 mph and was located about 1,290 miles east of Hilo. It was tracking toward the northwest at 8 mph. The once major hurricane is currently encountering a dry atmosphere and increased wind shear, which forecasters said is helping to weaken the storm.

By Thursday afternoon, forecasters expect Fernanda to be tropical storm with 50 mph winds preparing to enter the Central Pacific some 1,000 miles east of the Big Island. By Sunday, Fernanda’s likely to be a remnant low about 450 miles north-northeast of Kapaau in Kohala.

Forecasters said there are indications that moisture associated with the remnants may move near or north of the islands, however, that will depend on the storm’s actual track. A long period east swell from Fernanda is forecast to build this week.

Behind Fernanda, two other systems continue to be be monitored in the Eastern Pacific, neither of which is currently a threat to the Hawaiian Islands.

Tropical Storm Greg was located about 615 miles southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico, as of Wednesday morning and had maximum sustained winds around 45 mph. Additional strengthening is forecast over the next couple of days as the storm moves over warmer waters and encounters increased moisture in the atmosphere.

Forecasters expect Greg to become a hurricane in two to three days. However, that is dependant on Greg’s interaction with poorly organized Tropical Depression 8-E, which was located 935 miles off the coast of Mexico as of Wednesday morning. Forecasters say that Greg will likely become the dominant cyclone.

In the Central Pacific, Central Pacific Hurricane Center forecasters in Honolulu said no tropical cyclones are expected to form within the next couple of days.

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