Hurricane Ignacia is picking up intensity as it approaches the island state of Hawaii. The National Weather Service says that though the path of Hurricane Ignacia is still uncertain, it has the ability to cause “widespread damage” across the state. Therefore, Hawaii’s governor David Ige declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the hurricane’s landfall.
ABC News reports that Hurricane Ignacia has been upgraded to a Category 4 storm. This means that the approaching hurricane will have sustained winds up to 135 mph. Weather forecasters have already put the Big Island under a Tropical Storm watch but warn that winds could still reach hurricane strength as the storm gains momentum. Forecasters are also warning of potentially deadly surf conditions with swells up to 15 to 20 feet across the Big Island.
“Swells generated by Ignacio along east and southeast facing shores of the Big Island will increase to 15 to 20 feet Sunday through Monday, creating potentially life-threatening surf conditions.”
The National Weather Service says that the path of Ignacia is still highly uncertain as it could shift to the left or right in the coming days. However, it is expected to pass near Hawaii as early as Monday.
“If Ignacio shifts to the right, we could see light winds, more humid conditions, and localized heavy rain. On a more leftward track closer to the islands, we could see stronger/damaging winds and more widespread heavy rain/flooding. Everyone should continue to monitor the progress of Ignacio during the next several days.”
Accuweather forecasters note that the “worst” of the hurricane will likely pass north and east of the islands. However, “rough surf and strong rip currents” are expected. Isolated flooding is also expected as rain falls on the area.
The National Weather Service says that they know residents of Hawaii may be “fatigued” by recent alerts as four hurricanes have approached the area so far this season. However, they point out the importance of heeding preparedness advice as the storm has the potential to impact the entire state.
“We understand the public is fatigued from experiencing four major approaching storms so far this season, but we urge people to take the weekend to prepare their homes and families for impacts that could be felt statewide.”
At least one person in Hawaii is paying attention to the alerts as Governor David Ige has officially declared a state of emergency in order to supply emergency management organizations the funds necessary should the hurricane cause widespread problems in Hawaii.
[Image Credit: National Hurricane Center]