There are two tropical cyclones in the Eastern North Pacific at the moment; Hurricane Erick and Tropical Storm Flossie, both heading roughly towards the Hawaiian Islands, and both forecast to intensify first and then weaken before they get there – but Erick could be set to deliver a rifle in a strong pulse of swell.
Erick is presently situated around 1,000-miles east-southeast of Hawaii and is headed west at around 17 mph. It is a category-one hurricane at the moment, maximum sustained winds of 80 mph.
According to the models, Erick is expected to intensify and may become a major hurricane over the next 36 to 48 hours. It is then expected to reach an area of increased shear (a change in wind direction and/or strength with altitude) causing it to weaken quickly as it gets close to the Hawaiian Islands.
Flossie, on the other hand, presently a tropical storm, is forecast to become a hurricane very soon. It is currently situated about 2,500 miles east-southeast of Hawaii and is headed west at about 16 mph. Maximum sustained winds are around 65 mph. Flossie is expected to start tracking west-northwest within the next 24 hours, under the influence of an area of high pressure to the north. The models are currently suggesting that it will intensify, first fairly steadily and then more rapidly, with a chance that it will reach category 3 within the next two days. After that, it is expected to weaken as it moves into an area containing increasing atmospheric shear and coolish sea surface temperatures.
Keep an eye on our North Pacific chart, HERE
Tropical cyclones are notoriously difficult to predict, but it does seem like Erick will generate a good pulse of long-period swell for easterly exposures in Hawaii, particularly the Big Island. The swell begins to arrive around late Wednesday, persisting through Thursday before losing its punch on Friday. Then – although this is still quite a long-shot – there could be another similar pulse from Flossie towards the end of the weekend.