Tropical Storm Douglas is gaining strength as it moves across the Pacific toward Hawaii, possibly making a direct hit on the main island this weekend.
A few days ago, on July 19, Douglas was not a named storm. It was only a cluster of thunderstorms in the eastern Pacific. However, the storms soon began feeding off of each other, organizing into a tropical depression the next morning, Hawaii Standard Time (HST), then a tropical storm that afternoon.
Douglas was a minimal tropical storm, producing sustained winds of 40 mph. They increased to 65 mph by Tuesday morning, and Douglas remains at that strength as of Wednesday morning.
Douglas will likely become a Category 1 hurricane sometime Wednesday, based on the latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center (NHC), issued at 5 a.m. EDT Wednesday (11 p.m. Tuesday HST). Along its journey, Douglas could reach Category 3 strength, with winds of 125 mph.
With Douglas still more than 1,800 miles from Hawaii, it’s too early to pinpoint how powerful the storm will get or how close it will come to a possible landfall. Right now the NHC has Douglas weakening back to a tropical storm before making a direct hit on the main island sometime Sunday, July 26. But winds, waves and rainfall would increase the day before.
With Douglas still several days from a potential landfall, there is plenty of time to prepare. The storm could disrupt local supply chains to a certain extent, as well as container and cruise ship operations in Hilo, Honolulu and Pearl Harbor.
In the Atlantic
Tropical Depression Seven will likely become Tropical Storm Gonzalo sometime Wednesday. It will move into the southern Caribbean Sea several days from now, between South America and the island of Hispañola. The latest NHC forecast has Gonzalo maintaining tropical storm strength at least until early next week.
Gulf of Mexico
The NHC is giving a disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico a 40% chance of becoming a tropical depression this weekend. This system could produce heavy rainfall in parts of the U.S. Gulf Coast, but, at this time, major impacts to freight movement and transportation look unlikely.
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