Felicia remains Category 4 hurricane as it approaches Central Pacific


POSTED: Friday, August 07, 2009

Felicia, with maximum sustained winds near 135 mph, is expected to slowly weaken over the next few days, reaching the Big Island early next week as a tropical depression, forecasters say.

The Category 4 hurricane was 1,425 miles east of Hilo moving west-northwest at 12 mph, according to 5 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center. Hurricane-force winds extend 40 miles from the center, while tropical-force winds extend 140 miles.

“Weakening is forecast for the next couple of days as Felicia moves over cooler waters,” the center’s latest advisory said.

The latest five-day forecast has Felicia as a tropical depression over the Big Island by early Tuesday, and then moving south of Oahu.

The hurricane is expected to move into the Central Pacific on Saturday, when it will hit cooler waters and weaken, forecasters said.

Forecasters noted that Felicia is the strongest hurricane in the Eastern Pacific since Daniel in 2006

The hurricane center is also tracking Tropical Depression Enrique, a much weaker storm east of Felicia. Enrique has maximum sustained winds of 35 mph, and is expected to dissipate into a tropical low by the weekend.