LIHUE — A disturbance southeast of Hawaii has a high chance of developing into tropical depression in the next two days, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center forecasted on Monday.
Officials said it’s too early to say whether it has a chance to build into a cyclone, but people should be aware of the possibility.
“We encourage the public to keep track of the weather through the local media, not only for this system, but also for the duration of the hurricane season,” said Elton Ushio, Kauai Civil Defense Agency manager.
He said the agency is working with the National Weather Service to monitor the low-pressure system, along with other areas of significant weather.
As of 2 p.m. Monday, the low-pressure system, about 1,450 miles east-southeast of the Hawaiian islands, had a 70 percent chance of developing into a tropical depression. A tropical depression is the first level of a tropical cyclone, with winds of 38 mph or less. Cyclones with winds between 39 and 73 mph are tropical storms, while cyclones 74 mph or higher are considered hurricanes.
Preliminary forecasts bring it to the north of the main Hawaiian islands, said Tom Evans, Central Pacific Hurricane Center acting director.
“It’s a good reminder to make sure what your plan is if we do have a tropical cyclone move to the islands,” he said.
Evans said the center will have a better forecast and track of the system in by today.
The system is moving west-northwest toward Hawaii at around 15-20 mph — showers and thunderstorms are associated with the area.
Over the weekend, the center monitored two other systems south and south-southeast of the islands. Evan said the chances of the two forming into tropical depressions are low at 10 percent and 20 percent.
No tropical cyclones are expected through Wednesday afternoon. Hurricanes have maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or higher.
Padraic Gallagher, director of disaster services for Red Cross Kauai, said residents should be prepared for the worst and prepare by developing a seven-day survival kit.
“Make sure your gas is topped off, have your water, have your food, sit down with your family, have your emergency plan and find out where your nearest shelter is to your home,” he said.
Gallagher said the Red Cross will be working with the island’s major hotels to make sure visitors and guests are informed.
If the system develops into a tropical storm — maximum sustained winds of 39 mph — in the eastern Pacific, it will be named Dolores.
However, it would be named Ela if it develops in the central Pacific.
In May, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center’s 2015 Hurricane Season Outlook forecasted between five and eight tropical cyclones this season.
Evans said the outlook is based upon El Nino — the warming of the ocean surface along the equator — continuing to possibly strengthen as the hurricane season progresses.