LIHUE — Hurricane Hilda was weakening in the central Pacific on Sunday, but its forecast track still has it aiming toward Hawaii this week.
As of 5 p.m. Sunday, Hilda was a Category 2 storm, about 545 miles east-southeast of Hilo and 855 miles southeast of Lihue, moving northwest at around 8 mph. A gradual turn to the northwest and a decrease in speed was expected, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.
Maximum sustained winds were 100 mph with higher gusts. Hilda is expected to weaken further, and could be downgraded to a tropical storm in 48 hours, forecasters said.
The system had become less symmetrical and the eye was barely discernible in the 5 p.m. update. Hilda is expected to continue slowly weakening due to weak southwest vertical wind shear and decreasing sea surface temperatures, forecasters said.
U.S. Air Force Hurricane Hunters took off Sunday evening to begin flying missions into Hilda. The data from those missions will help forecasters refine future forecasts.