UPDATE: 11:10 am
Hurricane Felicia appears to peak today as a strong Category 4 storm far out in the east Pacific, according to the National Hurricane Center.
As of 11 a.m., the great hurricane had maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour and was approximately 2,172 miles east-southeast of Hilo and 985 miles west-southwest of the southern tip of Baja California.
The storm was moving west at 9 miles per hour, with hurricane winds of 75 miles per hour or more extending 25 miles from its center and tropical storm winds of at least 40 miles per hour extending over 75 miles .
“Some strength swings are possible today, but a slow slowdown is expected to begin tonight or early Saturday,” forecasters from the Miami Hurricane Center said in their 11am update. This weakening is expected to continue well into next week and Felicia poses no threat to the country.
The current five-day forecast says Felicia will invade the central Pacific as a strong tropical storm on Wednesday – still more than 1,000 miles from the island of Hawaii. On the projected route, the storm will move southwest early next week, which would take it further away from Hawaii.
Although the storm is still too far away to know how it could affect Hawaii’s weather, authorities say it is a good reminder for all residents to check and refill their emergency equipment and review their contingency plans.
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Felicia, a Category 3 hurricane, continued to intensify overnight.
Felicia, with maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour, lay 2,226 miles east-southeast of Hilo and was moving west-southwest at 8 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Felicia is expected to continue this course today and possibly turn west this evening or early Saturday.
Additional reinforcement could occur this morning, with Felicia potentially turning into a Category 4 storm later in the morning, forecasters said. However, a slow slowdown is expected to begin tonight and continue into the weekend.
Hurricane force winds extend up to 25 miles from central Felicia and tropical storm winds extend up to 70 miles.
According to weather authorities, Felicia is expected to weaken to a tropical storm on Wednesday morning as it approaches the central Pacific.