Storm strengthens to Hurricane John off Mexico's coast

The projected path of Hurricane Hector as of 5 p.m. Sunday

As Hurricane Hector moves west, Hawaii's Big Island is preparing Wednesday for a glancing blow from the storm's northern fringes, forecasters said.

"It is expected to dissipate over the next 48 hours, but the remains of the storm will track towards Ireland Saturday and could potentially bring some much needed rain".

This will keep Hector's eyewall with its strongest winds and heaviest rain well south of the Big Island. The tropical-storm-force winds associated with Debby are well removed from the center as indicated by a recent ASCT pass and are occurring within a cyclonically curved band of moderate convection.

The fourth storm of the season formed around 11am today about 1,000 miles west of the Azores, but it poses little threat to anything but fish.

Hurricane Hector is tracking for a close call with Hawaii's Big Island, parts of which are still coping with destruction from the ongoing eruption of the Kilauea volcano.

The County of Hawai'i is under a Tropical Storm Watch.

The eye of the storm, which had wind speeds as high as 217 km/h at its centre on Wednesday afternoon, is forecast to pass 300 kilometres to the south of the Big Island tomorrow. The Mayor's office has issued an emergency proclamation for Hawaii Island.

What's more, an El Nino, an anomalous warming in the tropical Pacific, is likely to develop, the Climate Prediction Center says, and that warming typically generates strong winds from the west that could add to the shearing. Higher than usual tides will combine with the large surf to increase the threat of coastal inundation. Some local flash flooding is possible in a few spots, particularly along east-, south- or southeastward-facing slopes of the Big Island.

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