Hawaii Battening Down the Hatches as Hurricane Ignacio Approaches
Photo via Twitter/CIMSS_Satellite
The edge of Hurricane Ignacio, a powerful Category 4 storm, will begin brushing the Hawaiian Islands Monday, potentially closing commercial ports, altering cruise itineraries and temporarily shuttering tourist hotspots.
According to a Weather.com report, the hurricane was around 470 miles east-southeast of Hilo, Hawaii early Sunday morning, local time.
A tropical storm watch is in effect for the Big Island of Hawaii and Maui County, which encompasses the islands of Maui, Lanai, Molokai, Kahoolawe, and Molokini.
The good news, as per Weather.com, is that wind shear and cooler water temperatures encountered as the storm moves northwest will cause it to weaken.
Weather.com says computer forecast models show Ignacio tracking north of the Hawaiian Islands from Monday into Tuesday, with the possibility of tropical storm-force winds hitting the Big Island Monday.
The weather network also says there is the possibility of local heavy rainfall over mauka (mountain) locations in the eastern Hawaiian Islands Monday and Tuesday from Ignacio’s outer rain bands.
Beachgoers should watch out for dangerous surf on Hawaii’s eastern-facing shores in the next few days, especially on the Big Island, according to Weather.com.
In light of the predicted severe weather, the U.S. Coast Guard has just announced via a news release the potential closure of commercial ports across Hawaii.
The release said the ports of Hilo and Kawaihae on the Big Island and the ports of Kaunakakai, Kaumalapau and Kahului in Maui County are expected to see winds above 39 mph in the next 72 hours.
As the storm approaches, ports on the islands of Oahu and Kauai could also see these conditions, the release noted.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America, which is based in Hawaii year-round, was forced to alter its itinerary, which was announced on the NCL website:
“Due to Hurricane Ignacio in the Pacific, Pride of America's itinerary for the cruise departing on August 29 has been adjusted to call on Nawiliwili on Sunday where the ship will overnight, followed by Hilo on Wednesday, Kahului on Thursday where the ship will overnight and returning to Honolulu on Saturday.”
Those with cruise plans in the immediate future involving Hawaii, check with your cruise line for up-to-the-minute information.
A special alert by the Hawaii Tourism Authority noted that state governor David Ige has declared a state of emergency, and the agency provided a list of park and attraction closures.
Theresa Masek contributed to this report.
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