NASA sees major Hurricane Hector moving south of Hawaii

August 8, 2018 by Rob Gutro, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
On Aug. 8 at 7:450 a.m. EDT (1145 UTC) NASA's Aqua satellite found coldest temperatures of strongest thunderstorms (yellow) in Hurricane Hector were as cold as or colder than minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 62.2 Celsius). Hawaii is seen top left. Credit: NRL/NASA

Hurricane Hector maintained its major hurricane status on Aug. 8 as NASA's Aqua satellite passed overhead. Infrared data from NASA's Aqua satellite provided forecasters with cloud top temperatures in Hector so they could pinpoint the strongest part of the storm.

NOAA's Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) noted today, Aug. 8 that a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Hawaii County. A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area later today.

On Aug. 8 at 7:45 a.m. EDT (1145 UTC) the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite analyzed Hurricane Hector's cloud top temperatures in infrared light. MODIS found cloud top temperatures of the strongest thunderstorms were as cold as or colder than minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 62.2 Celsius) around the center. Cloud top temperatures that cold indicate strong storms that have the capability to create heavy rain.

At 11 a.m. EDT (5 a.m. HST/1500 UTC), the center of Hurricane Hector was located near latitude 16.4 degrees north and longitude 153.9 degrees west. That's about 240 miles (390 km) south-southeast of Hilo, Hawaii. Hector is moving toward the west near 16 mph (26 kph), and this motion is expected to continue through Thursday night, Aug. 9.

Maximum sustained winds are near 125 mph (205 kph) with higher gusts. Hector is a category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some slight weakening is forecast during the next couple of days. However, Hector will likely remain a through Thursday night. The estimated minimum central pressure is 956 millibars.

The CPHC noted swells and tropical storm conditions would affect the Big Island today, Aug. 8. CPHC said "Swells generated by Hector will likely produce large and dangerous surf along southeast and east facing shores of the Big Island today. Large surf is also expected along east facing shores of Maui. Tropical storm conditions are expected across portions of the Big Island later today as the core of Hector passes to the south. The strongest winds are expected down the slope of the mountains, across elevated terrain, over headlands, and through gaps."

Interests on Johnston Island should monitor the progress of Hector.

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