Four, going on Five

LIHUE — Hurricane season started off slow, but now the east Pacific is kicking out a steady stream of tropical cyclones.

So far, none of them have directly impacted land, but the rainfall Kauai has received over the past few days is the result of the hurricane procession.

“The batch of showers that came through overnight (Thursday night and early Friday morning) were actually from the remnants of Blas,” said Tom Birchard, senior forecaster with the Honolulu National Weather Service. “That’s now clearing most of the islands.”

Blas is the second hurricane that was born out of the east Pacific. The first was named Hurricane Agatha on July 2 and the third, Hurricane Celia, was at tropical storm intensity and about 1,100 miles east of the island on Friday.

Birchard said Celia is expected to gradually weaken and remain as a low-pressure system for the next four to six days as it passes about 200 miles north of Kauai.

When it does pass by the islands, he said the National Weather Service is expecting it to slow the tradewinds.

“It’s going to be muggy throughout the whole next seven days, but once we lose the tradewinds later in the week, it’s going to be stickier,” Birchard said.

Hurricane Darby, the fourth cyclone, was named July 13 and another tropical depression is evolving toward a tropical storm and then hurricane status.

“If it gets named, that’ll be Estelle and it’s expected to become a hurricane Saturday night or Sunday,” Birchard said.

He said Hurricane Darby is about 2,300 miles east of Kauai.

“We like to joke about that being almost a ‘Vegas unit,’” Birchard said. “Vegas is about 2,600 miles away.”

He said in five days, the hurricane is expected to be about 1,200 miles to the east/southeast of Kauai at a 45-knot tropical storm.

He said it’s too early to tell if Hurricane Darby will have an impact on island weather, but if it does, it would be toward the end of next weekend.

“It’s something worth keeping tabs on,” Birchard said. “It’s a similar track to Celia’s, but on more of a southerly track.”

That means there’s a potential for Hurricane Darby to trek closer to the islands than Celia.

Birchard said there are three main possibilities for hurricane pathways out of the east Pacific: north, south or right over the top.

“If the remnant goes north of the islands, it cuts off the tradewinds and it gets sticky. Going south, we’ll get high humidity and we get stronger tradewinds,” Birchard said. “When it passes right over, that’s the wettest scenario.”

As of July 8 there are no significant drought impacts on Kauai and according to Kevin Kodama, hydrologist with NOAA, a wetter than normal spring is reducing drought impacts as the islands head into the drought season.

“Typically, when these remnant low-pressure systems come over the islands, they help bring that much needed rainfall to the islands,” Birchard said.


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