LIHU’E – National Weather Service forecasters predict a violent death for the six-mile-high Hurricane Daniel, which as of presstime had not entered Hawaiian waters but was moving toward the islands.
With winds over 120 miles per hour and gusts beyond 150 miles per hour, Daniel was around 1,800 miles southeast of the Big Island, heading in a northwesterly direction at around 20 miles per hour, as of this morning.
But forecasters were predicting the jetstream and heavier upper-level winds would sheer the top off the storm. They were also hoping that a downgraded Daniel will only bring needed rain to the leeward side of all the islands if it arrives, said Mark Marshall, county Civil Defense administrator.
Marshall said he doesn’t think a hurricane watch will need to be issued, though the state’s Civil Defense leaders will have a conference call tomorrow to discuss weekend strategies should the storm fail to weaken as predicted.
The remnants of another front that at one point was a tropical storm or tropical depression in front of Daniel, and that fell apart as it approached the islands, was responsible for rain over the last few days, Marshall said. National Weather Service forecasters are calling for Daniel also to dissipate before making landfall, hoping its remnants will bring nothing more than needed rain, he continued.
Daniel isn’t expected to reach Hawaiian waters until the weekend at the earliest. Hawaiian waters begin at 140 degrees west longitude, and the storm this morning was at 126.0 degrees west longitude. Each degree equals 60 nautical miles, and Kaua’i is at around 159 west longitude.
“It’s way far away,” Marshall said. Storms get their power from the heat of ocean water. Having their heads cut off tends to take rising heat away from the storms, he explained.
Normally, storms quickly dissipate once they lose their heads, Marshall added.
The Web site to track the storm is www.solar.ifa.hawaii.edu/Tropical/tropical.html.
Staff writer Paul C. Curtis can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or email@example.com