Hurricane Hector (2018)

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Hurricane Hector
Category 4 major hurricane (SSHWS/NWS)
Hector 2018-08-06 2255Z.jpg
Hurricane Hector at peak intensity southeast of Hawaii on August 6
FormedJuly 31, 2018
DissipatedAugust 16, 2018
Highest winds 1-minute sustained:155 mph (250 km/h)
Lowest pressure936 mbar (hPa); 27.64 inHg
FatalitiesNone
DamageMinimal
Areas affected Hawaii, Johnston Atoll
Part of the 2018 Pacific hurricane
and typhoon seasons

Hurricane Hector was a powerful and long-lived tropical cyclone that was the first to traverse all three North Pacific basins since Genevieve in 2014. The eighth named storm, fourth hurricane, and third major hurricane of the 2018 Pacific hurricane season, Hector originated from an area of low pressure that formed a couple hundred miles west-southwest of Mexico on July 28. Amid favorable weather conditions, a tropical depression formed a few days later on July 31. The depression continued strengthening and became Tropical Storm Hector on the next day. Hector became a hurricane on August 2, and rapidly intensified into a strong Category 2 hurricane later in the day. After weakening while undergoing an eyewall replacement cycle, Hector quickly strengthened into a Category 4 hurricane late on August 5. Over the next week, Hector fluctuated in intensity multiple times due to eyewall replacement cycles and shifting wind shear. Hector achieved its peak intensity on August 6, as a high-end Category 4 hurricane with winds of 155 mph (250 km/h). On the following day, the hurricane bypassed Hawaii approximately 200 mi (320 km) to the south. Increasing wind shear resulted in steady weakening of the storm, beginning on August 11. At that time, Hector accumulated the longest continuous stretch of time as a major hurricane in the northeastern Pacific since reliable records began. Eroding convection and dissipation of its eye marked its degradation to a tropical storm on August 13. The storm subsequently traversed the International Dateline that day. Hector later weakened into a tropical depression on August 15, before dissipating late on August 16.

Tropical cyclone Is a rotating storm system

A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm system characterized by a low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, strong winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that produce heavy rain. Depending on its location and strength, a tropical cyclone is referred to by different names, including hurricane, typhoon, tropical storm, cyclonic storm, tropical depression, and simply cyclone. A hurricane is a tropical cyclone that occurs in the Atlantic Ocean and northeastern Pacific Ocean, and a typhoon occurs in the northwestern Pacific Ocean; in the south Pacific or Indian Ocean, comparable storms are referred to simply as "tropical cyclones" or "severe cyclonic storms".

Hurricane Genevieve (2014)

Hurricane Genevieve, also referred to as Typhoon Genevieve, was the fourth-most intense tropical cyclone of the North Pacific Ocean in 2014. A long-lasting system, Genevieve was the first one to track across all three northern Pacific basins since Hurricane Dora in 1999. Genevieve developed from a tropical wave into the eighth tropical storm of the 2014 Pacific hurricane season well east-southeast of Hawaii on July 25. However, increased vertical wind shear caused it to weaken into a tropical depression by the following day and degenerate into a remnant low on July 28. Late on July 29, the system regenerated into a tropical depression, but it weakened into a remnant low again on July 31, owing to vertical wind shear and dry air.

2018 Pacific hurricane season Period of formation of tropical cyclones in the Eastern Pacific Ocean in 2018

The 2018 Pacific hurricane season produced the highest accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) value on record in the Eastern Pacific basin. With 23 named storms, it was the fourth-most active season on record, tied with 1982. The season officially began on May 15 in the eastern Pacific, and on June 1 in the central Pacific; they both ended on November 30. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Pacific basin, as illustrated when the first tropical depression formed on May 10.

Contents

Hector prompted several islands in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument to issue tropical storm watches after the close pass by in Hawaii that warranted the issuance of a tropical storm warning for Hawaii County. Despite Hector having passed a couple hundred miles to the south of Hawaii, it still brought numerous adverse weather effects to Hawaii County and the surrounding islands.

Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument national monument in the United States

The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is a World Heritage listed U.S. National Monument encompassing 583,000 square miles (1,510,000 km2) of ocean waters, including ten islands and atolls of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Created in June 2006 with 140,000 square miles (360,000 km2), it was expanded in August 2016 by moving its border to the limit of the exclusive economic zone, making it one of the world's largest protected areas. It is internationally known for its cultural and natural values as follows:

"The area has deep cosmological and traditional significance for living Native Hawaiian culture, as an ancestral environment, as an embodiment of the Hawaiian concept of kinship between people and the natural world, and as the place where it is believed that life originates and to where the spirits return after death. On two of the islands, Nihoa and Makumanamana, there are archaeological remains relating to pre-European settlement and use. Much of the monument is made up of pelagic and deepwater habitats, with notable features such as seamounts and submerged banks, extensive coral reefs and lagoons."

Hawaii State of the United States of America

Hawaii is the 50th and most recent state to have joined the United States, having received statehood on August 21, 1959. Hawaii is the only U.S. state located in Oceania, the only U.S. state located outside North America, and the only one composed entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean.

Hawaii County, Hawaii County in the United States

Hawaiʻi County is a county in the U.S. state of Hawaii in the Hawaiian Islands. It is coterminous with the Island of Hawaiʻi, often called the "Big Island" to distinguish it from the state as a whole. As of the 2010 Census the population was 185,079. The county seat is Hilo. There are no incorporated cities in Hawaiʻi County. The Hilo Micropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Hawaiʻi County. Hawaiʻi County has a mayor-council form of government. Hawaii County is the largest county in the state in terms of geography.

Meteorological history

Map plotting the track and the intensity of the storm, according to the Saffir-Simpson scale Hector 2018 track.png
Map plotting the track and the intensity of the storm, according to the Saffir–Simpson scale

On July 26, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) started watching an area of low pressure was forecast to form a couple hundred miles south-southwest of Mexico in a few days. [1] Two days later, this forecast verified as a broad area of low pressure formed several hundred miles south-southeast of Acapulco. [2] The system gradually developed over the next few days, which prompted the NHC to declare the system a tropical depression at 12:00 UTC on July 31. [3] Initially, Hector was expected to travel in a northwesterly direction before shifting to a more westerly direction after the subtropical ridge expanded to the south. [4] At midnight UTC on August 1, the depression intensified to a tropical storm, [3] receiving the name Hector; based on an increase in curved banding features and a Dvorak intensity estimation. [5] Despite a projected increase in wind shear, steady strengthening to a hurricane was expected. [6]

National Hurricane Center division of the United States National Weather Service

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is the division of the United States' National Weather Service responsible for tracking and predicting tropical weather systems between the Prime Meridian and the 140th meridian west poleward to the 30th parallel north in the northeast Pacific Ocean and the 31st parallel north in the northern Atlantic Ocean. The agency, which is co-located with the Miami branch of the National Weather Service, is situated on the campus of Florida International University in University Park, Florida.

Mexico country in the southern portion of North America

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the eleventh most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.

Acapulco City and municipality in Guerrero, Mexico

Acapulco de Juárez, commonly called Acapulco, is a city, municipality and major seaport in the state of Guerrero on the Pacific coast of Mexico, 380 kilometres (240 mi) south of Mexico City. Acapulco is located on a deep, semicircular bay and has been a port since the early colonial period of Mexico's history. It is a port of call for shipping and cruise lines running between Panama and San Francisco, California, United States. The city of Acapulco is the largest in the state, far larger than the state capital Chilpancingo. Acapulco is also Mexico's largest beach and balneario resort city.

For the next several days, Hector generally traveled west without gaining much latitude while steadily intensifying, [3] with microwave imagery revealing the emergence of a mid-level eye, an indication that rapid intensification was likely to take place. [7] By 18:00 UTC on August 2, Hector had rapidly intensified to a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson scale with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph (165 km/h) and a minimum barometric pressure of 975 mbar (28.79 inHg). At this time, Hector was a small hurricane, with hurricane force winds extending only 15 miles (25 km) from the center. [3] [8] Because of an increase in northerly wind shear and the beginning of an eyewall replacement cycle, Hector weakened to a Category 1 hurricane on the afternoon of August 3. [3]

Eye (cyclone) region of mostly calm weather at the center of strong tropical cyclones

The eye is a region of mostly calm weather at the center of strong tropical cyclones. The eye of a storm is a roughly circular area, typically 30–65 km (20–40 miles) in diameter. It is surrounded by the eyewall, a ring of towering thunderstorms where the most severe weather and highest winds occur. The cyclone's lowest barometric pressure occurs in the eye and can be as much as 15 percent lower than the pressure outside the storm.

Rapid intensification

Rapid intensification is a meteorological condition that occurs when a tropical cyclone intensifies dramatically in a short period of time. The United States National Hurricane Center (NHC) defines rapid intensification as an increase in the maximum 1-min sustained winds of a tropical cyclone of at least 30 knots in a 24-hour period.

The Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale (SSHWS), formerly the Saffir–Simpson hurricane scale (SSHS), classifies hurricanes – Western Hemisphere tropical cyclones that exceed the intensities of tropical depressions and tropical storms – into five categories distinguished by the intensities of their sustained winds.

After completing the eyewall replacement cycle, Hector quickly strengthened into a Category 3 hurricane on August 4. [3] Hector then gradually strengthened throughout the day. Shortly before 15:00 UTC on that day, microwave data indicated that a second eyewall replacement cycle was occurring. [9] Hector reached Category 4 status at 18:00 UTC, [3] as the eye became more pronounced, and Hector acquired some characteristics of an annular hurricane. [10] Despite gradual weakening having been forecast, Hector subsequently began to rapidly strengthen. [3] Shortly after 06:00 UTC, Hector entered the Central Pacific Hurricane Center's (CPHC) warning zone after crossing the 140°W. [3]

Annular tropical cyclone

An annular tropical cyclone is a tropical cyclone that features a normal to large, symmetric eye surrounded by a thick and uniform ring of intense convection, often having a relative lack of discrete rainbands, and bearing a symmetric appearance in general. As a result, the appearance of an annular tropical cyclone can be referred to as akin to a tire or doughnut. Annular characteristics can be attained as tropical cyclones intensify; however, outside the processes that drive the transition from asymmetric systems to annular systems and the abnormal resistance to negative environmental factors found in storms with annular features, annular tropical cyclones behave similarly to asymmetric storms. Most research related to annular tropical cyclones is limited to satellite imagery and aircraft reconnaissance as the conditions thought to give rise to annular characteristics normally occur over water well removed from landmasses where surface observations are possible.

Central Pacific Hurricane Center

The Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) of the United States National Weather Service is the official body responsible for tracking and issuing tropical cyclone warnings, watches, advisories, discussions, and statements for the Central Pacific region: from the equator northward, 140°W–180°W, most significantly for Hawai‘i. It is the Regional Specialized Meteorological Center (RSMC) for tropical cyclones in this region, and in this capacity is known as RSMC Honolulu.

140th meridian west

The meridian 140° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, North America, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole.

Hurricane Hector as seen from International Space Station on August 7 ISS-56 Hurricane Hector (3).jpg
Hurricane Hector as seen from International Space Station on August 7

Late on August 6, Hector intensified further and peaked with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph (250 km/h). [3] Later on the same day, Hector weakened, due to interactions with drier air. [11] As the weakening trend progressed, Hector's wind field began to expand. [12] On August 8, Hector weakened to a Category 3 hurricane again. [3] At 21:00 UTC, Hector made its closest approach to Hawaii, approximately 220 miles (355 km) south of Hilo with winds of 115 mph (185 km/h). [13] At the same time, microwave data indicated Hector had begun a third eyewall replacement cycle, [14] which finished early on August 9, as satellite presentation of the hurricane immensely improved, with the eye warming. Unlike Hector's previous eyewall replacements, Hector maintained its intensity at that time. [15] Early on August 10, Hector regained Category 4 status, and at 18:00 UTC on the same day, Hector reached its secondary peak intensity with winds of 140 mph (220 km/h) as it began to turn west-northwestward, [3] due to a subtropical ridge that formed to the north. [16] On August 11, Hector began another weakening trend as increasing wind shear began to have an impact on the system, [17] though by this time, the hurricane set the record for the longest consecutive duration as a major hurricane in the northeastern Pacific. [18] Late on August 11, Hector weakened below major hurricane strength, a status it had held for nearly eight days, because of increasing wind shear while the storm took a turn to the northwest, due to the influence of the subtropical ridge. [19]

Hilo, Hawaii Census-designated place in Hawaii, United States

Hilo is the largest town and census-designated place (CDP) in Hawaii County, Hawaii, United States, which encompasses the Island of Hawaiʻi. The population was 43,263 at the 2010 census.

Hector quickly weakened to Category 1 status on August 12, due to strong south-southwesterly shear. [20] On August 13, Hector weakened further to a tropical storm. [3] Later on the same day, Hector crossed over the International Date Line, exiting the Central Pacific basin and entering the West Pacific basin; the CPHC thus ceased issuing advisories on Hector and passed that responsibility to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). [3] Hector continued weakening on the next day, amid continued southeasterly wind shear, [21] lower oceanic heat content, and nearby dry air. [22] The system became increasingly disorganized, and the JTWC issued its last advisory on Hector on August 15, as the system weakened into a subtropical depression. [23] Afterward, Hector turned northward around the edge of the aforementioned subtropical ridge, while continuing to weaken. [24] The JMA last noted Hector late on August 16, as the storm dissipated. [25]

Preparations and impact

Hector at its closest approach to Hawaii late on August 8 Hector 2018-08-08 2330Z.jpg
Hector at its closest approach to Hawaii late on August 8

Although forecasts depicted Hector remaining south of Hawaii, concerns were raised over the safety of residents displaced by the ongoing eruption of Kīlauea. Many remained in temporary tent structures that could not withstand a hurricane; however, plans were made to relocate people to sturdier structures. [26] A tropical storm watch was issued for Hawaii County on August 6; [27] this was upgraded to a tropical storm warning early on August 8. [28] The tropical storm warning was discontinued later that day as Hector stayed far offshore. [29]

On August 5, the ports of Hilo and Kawaihae were closed to inbound traffic as gale-force winds were expected to occur within the next 24 hours. [30] On August 7, the acting mayor of Hawaii County, Wil Okabe, declared a state of emergency as Hector was approaching from the east. [31] The next day, all absentee walk-in voting sites as well as Whittington, Punaluu, and Milolii Beach Parks in Hawaii County were closed as Hector passed by to the south. [32] [33] On August 8, 20 ft (6.1 m) high surf was reported along the south facing shores on the Big Island. [34] In all, at least 90 people necessitated rescue on Oahu due to dangerous swells generated by the cyclone. [35] All Hawaiian ports resumed normal operations on August 10. [36]

On August 9–10, Johnston Atoll briefly received a tropical storm watch as Hector approached the atoll, [37] [38] On August 11, a tropical storm watch was issued for portions of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument from Lisianski Island to Pearl and Hermes Atoll, [39] and on the next day, was issued for Kure Atoll and Midway Atoll and the waters between Midway Atoll and Pearl and Hermes Atoll. [40] The watches were gradually cancelled as Hector weakened and moved away from the islands, with none remaining by August 13. [41]

Records

Hector currently holds the record for most consecutive days as a major hurricane in the northeast Pacific, with 7.75 days (186 hours). [42] [43] The previous record holder was 1984's Hurricane Norbert, with 7.00 days. [44] In addition, Hector currently holds the record for most hours as a Category 4 hurricane (that did not also attain Category 5 status Hurricane Ioke's total time at Category 4 or 5 intensity was far greater) in the northeastern Pacific, with 4 days (96 hours) total. [45] [46] Hector has the highest accumulated cyclone energy in the Northeast Pacific since 1994's Hurricane John, [47] and is also the first storm since Genevieve of 2014 to traverse all three North Pacific basins. [48]

See also

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Hurricane Walaka was one of the most intense Pacific hurricanes on record. By minimum pressure, Walaka is the second-strongest tropical cyclone in central Pacific, alongside Hurricane Gilma in 1994, and is only surpassed by Hurricane Ioke in 2006. The nineteenth named storm, twelfth hurricane, eighth major hurricane, and second Category 5 hurricane of the 2018 Pacific hurricane season, Walaka originated from an area of low pressure that formed over a thousand miles south-southeast of Hawaii on September 25. The National Hurricane Center tracked the disturbance for another day or so before it moved into the Central Pacific Basin. The Central Pacific Hurricane Center monitored the disturbance from that time until September 29, when the system organized into Tropical Storm Walaka. Walaka gradually strengthened, becoming a hurricane on October 1. Walaka then began to rapidly intensify, reaching Category 5 intensity by early on October 2. An eyewall replacement cycle caused some weakening of the hurricane, though it remained a powerful storm for the next day or so. Afterward, less favorable conditions caused a steady weakening of the hurricane, and Walaka became extratropical on October 6, well to the north of the Hawaiian Islands.

Hurricane Sergio (2018)

Hurricane Sergio was a powerful and long-lived tropical cyclone that affected the Baja California Peninsula as a tropical storm. Sergio became the eighth Category 4 hurricane in the East Pacific for 2018, breaking the old record of seven which was set in 2015. The twentieth named storm, eleventh hurricane, and ninth major hurricane of the season, Sergio originated from a broad area of low pressure that formed a few hundred miles south-southeast of the southern coast of Mexico on September 26. The National Hurricane Center monitored the disturbance for a few days until it organized into a tropical storm, after which it was assigned the name Sergio. The system gradually strengthened for the next couple of days, becoming a hurricane on October 2. Sergio then began a period of rapid intensification, becoming a major hurricane later that day. Intensification then halted for about twelve hours before resuming on October 3. The next day, Sergio peaked as a Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 140 mph and a minimum central pressure of 942 mbar. Sergio maintained peak intensity for six hours before beginning to weaken. On October 5, the system bottomed out as a low-end Category 3 hurricane. Sergio then began another period of intensification, achieving a secondary peak on October 6. The next day, Sergio began to weaken again, falling below major hurricane strength. At the same time, Sergio unexpectedly assumed the structure of an annular tropical cyclone. By October 9, Sergio had weakened into a tropical storm. On October 12, Sergio made landfall as a tropical storm on the Baja California Peninsula, and later in northwestern Mexico as a tropical depression before dissipating early on October 13.

Tropical Storm Ileana (2018)

Tropical Storm Ileana was a tropical cyclone that affected Western Mexico, causing multiple deaths and flooding. The ninth named storm of the 2018 Pacific hurricane season, Ileana originated from a tropical wave that the National Hurricane Center began monitoring on July 26 as it left the west coast of Africa. The wave travelled across the Atlantic Ocean with no thunderstorm activity, before crossing into the Eastern Pacific Ocean on August 4. The disturbance quickly and unexpectedly organized into a tropical depression later in the day. Initially, the depression was well defined, but it soon degraded due to unfavorable conditions. It began to strengthen on August 5, becoming Tropical Storm Ileana. On August 6, Ileana peaked with winds of 65 mph (100 km/h) and a pressure of 998 mbar. Ileana began to develop an eyewall structure soon after, but became intertwined with nearby Hurricane John. John disrupted Ileana and ultimately absorbed it on August 7.

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