LIHUE — As the first Hawaiian named tropical storm of the season brews southeast of Honolulu, the National Weather Service says Hawaii residents should be prepared and vigilant.
But, NWS hasn’t issued any alerts yet, and are watching to see how the newly named storm will track.
Thursday afternoon, NWS forecasters told The Garden Island Tropical Storm Akoni was about 1,000 miles southeast of Honolulu, with wind speeds of about 45 mph.
Forecasts so far show the storm tracking south of the islands, with potential rain and increased winds on Sunday and Monday.
Because the storm formed in the Central Pacific, it got the Hawaiian name Akoni.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Juliette is moving along the dividing line between the Eastern Pacific and the Central Pacific, following a more northern track than Akoni, with sustained winds at about 85 miles per hour.
As of Thursday afternoon, it was 710 miles west of the southern tip of Baja California and was moving northwest at about 12 miles per hour. A turn toward the west is forecast for Saturday, and forecasters expect Juliette, as of Thursday, to weaken into a tropical storm today, and to move in a general westward direction through the weekend.
Akoni, according to NWS, remains a “very asymmetric and disorganized system, but is expected to gradually intensify over the next few days.”
Tropical cyclones that form in the Central Pacific are given Hawaiian names. One of the most famous is Hurricane Iniki, which hit Kauai directly in 1992, with reports from the incident showing it caused more than $1.8 billion in damage and six deaths.
Hurricane Iwa passed west of Kauai in 1982, Category Four Hurricane Dot passed over Kauai in 1959 after it had been downgraded to a Category 1 storm, and Hurricane Nina created damage in 1957 after approaching west-southwest of Kauai.
In 2018, Hurricane Lane caused mudslides and flash flooding, as remnants of the storm passed through the islands in August, on the heels of Hurricane Hector, which caused dangerous swells on Oahu.
NWS urges Hawaii residents and visitors to stay up to date on all alerts as they monitor Akoni.