Flossie upped to Cat 3, heads for isles
Hurricane Flossie had 115 mph maximum sustained winds and 132 mph gusts early this morning
Forecasters warn Hawaii residents to be prepared for what is expected to be the first hurricane to enter the Central Pacific region this season.
While the storm is supposed to weaken and pass south of the islands, forecasters say it makes sense to be ready if Hurricane Flossie takes a different tack. "Anybody in the Hawaiian Islands should be watching this thing," said Sam Houston, lead forecaster for the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.
Hurricane Flossie was moving west at 13 mph yesterday about 1,400 miles east-southeast of Hilo. Early today it was expected to pass 140 W latitude, the boundary for the Central Pacific Hurricane Center's region. Last month, Hurricane Cosme became a tropical depression before crossing into the Central Pacific.
Flossie had 115 mph maximum sustained winds and 132 mph gusts early this morning. Forecasters expected it to slowly decrease in strength as it crosses over cooler water. The Category 3 storm should become a tropical storm Monday, said meteorologist Bob Burke.
Flossie is expected to pass 125 miles south of the Big Island on Tuesday, but forecasters say a four-day forecast carries a margin of error of 230 miles, while a five-day forecast can be off by 260 miles. "That means it could be over the Hawaiian Islands easily," Houston said.
On Wednesday, Flossie is expected to pass 200 miles south of Oahu as a tropical storm with maximum winds of 46 mph. Flossie could bring 8- to 12-foot surf to the Big Island's south shores and a small swell to south and east shores on Oahu on Tuesday.
PREPARING FOR A HURRICANE
» Stock up on drinking water and nonperishable food.
» Keep your car gas tank full and know the best routes to evacuate if civil defense advises it.
» Listen to the radio or TV for hurricane or tropical storm statements.
» Visit the Central Pacific Hurricane Center Web site www.prh.noaa.gov/hnl/cphc for more tips and information.