Hurricane Hector regains strength as it ploughs towards Hawaii

Satellite imagery of Hector at 5:30 a.m. on Friday Aug. 3 2018. PC NOAA  NHC

However, forecasters still expect the storm to pass south of the Hawaiian Islands and gradually weaken over the next few days. It's not known yet if the island will be impacted. The storm could make a direct hit near Hawaii's Kilauea volcano, which has been spewing lava and molten rock since it erupted May 3. We introduced some elevated precipitation chances over the eastern slopes of the Big Island from Wednesday into Thursday as deep tropical moisture will likely move up the slopes of Maunakea and Maunaloa producing enhanced rainfall activity.

Hector was located about 930 miles east-southeast of Hilo, Hawaii, and was moving to the west at 15 mph.

Hector will bring increased surf and a high risk for unsafe rip currents to east- and south-facing beaches of the southernmost islands, especially the Big Island and Maui during next week.

Even as a months-long volcanic eruption goes on, Hawaii is now on alert for a risky hurricane forecast to pass south of the islands at midweek.

It was uncertain if it would hit or just brush by the southern edge of the Big Island, said a meteorologist at the National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center in College Park Maryland.

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State officials urged residents to take precaution and prepare for the storm.

Tom Travis, Hawaii's emergency management administrator, said: "Hector is our first hurricane this year".

The Hawaiian Islands include Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and the island of Hawaii, which is often referred to as the Big Island. Unfortunately, Hector remains too far away to predict if it will directly impact the state or pass to the south, as average track errors are still around 200 miles this many days out.

More than 700 homes and properties have been destroyed with thousands of people being forced to leave the area.

A tropical storm watch is in effect Monday for waters south of the Big Island.

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