Major Hurricane Hector Headed Toward Active Volcano in Hawaii
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Poor Hawaii. Tourism on the Big Island — the island that actually bears the name of Hawaii — is down due to the ongoing volcanic activity on the southern tip of the island. Now, the island faces another potential natural disaster: Category 3 Hurricane Hector.
The storm first formed this past Tuesday and has been building strength as it marches westward toward the Hawaiian islands. The storm currently has 125mph max sustained speed wind speeds, earning it a "major hurricane" designation.
However, top wind speeds are expected to diminish over the next few days. By early Tuesday, the storm is forecast to be downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane with 110mph winds. Current forecasts call for the center of the storm to pass south of the southern tip of Hawaii on Wednesday.
However, even if the center of the storm stays south of the island, its effects could be felt on the Big Island. As of 11am Eastern time Sunday, the National Hurricane Center calculates the following possibilities for tropical storm-force winds through Friday:
- South Point of Hawaii: 49%
- Kailua-Kona: 30%
- Lanai City: 16%
- Bradshaw Army Air Field: 15%
- Hana, Maui: 15%
- Lihue: 9%
- Honolulu: 6%
So far, no airlines have issued travel waivers for the storm. And if the hurricane continues on its path south of the Big Island, none should be needed. However, if the storm works its way northward, airline waivers and even evacuations could be warranted.
If Hector makes landfall on the Big Island, it would be the first such hurricane to do so. The biggest of the Hawaiian islands has had a few close calls over the years but has remained incredibly lucky to have hurricanes fizzle (e.g. Darby in 2016, Iselle in 2014, Felicia in 2009, Orlene in 1992 and Raymond in 1983) or miss the island (e.g. Lester in 2016).
This storm serves as another reminder that we are in hurricane season. If you’re planning to travel to hurricane-prone areas — or even just currently cancellation-prone areas like the US Northeast — make sure to book the trip with a card that offers solid trip delay and cancellation insurance. I’ll be using my Chase Sapphire Reserve to book flights going forward.
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