Hurricane Erick continued hold onto its status as it moved west through the Central Pacific. NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite passed overhead and found two small areas of very strong thunderstorms, showing Erick still had some punch left in it.
Fortunately, Erick is a small hurricane and the National Hurricane Center expects those winds to be 200 miles from Hawaii as it passes the islands.
The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard Suomi NPP provided an infrared image of the storm. Infrared imagery reveals cloud top temperatures, and the higher the cloud top, the colder it is, and the stronger the storm. On July 31 at 7:30 p.m. EDT (2330 UTC). There were two small areas within where cloud top temperatures were as cold as minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 62.2 Celsius). Storms with cloud tops that cold have been found to generate heavy rainfall.
At 11 a.m. EDT (5 a.m. HST/1500 UTC), the center of Hurricane Erick was located near latitude 15.9 degrees north and longitude 152.4 degrees west. That's 315 miles (510 km) southeast of Hilo, Hawaii.
Erick is moving toward the west-northwest near 15 mph (24 kph), and this general motion is expected to continue over the next couple of days. Maximum sustained winds are near 85 mph (140 km/h) with higher gusts. Significant weakening is forecast during the next couple of days, and Erick is expected to weaken to a tropical storm later today. The estimated minimum central pressure is 981 millibars.
Erick's hurricane-strength winds are in a small area. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles (35 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles (165 km). The National Hurricane Center said that on the forecast track, the center of Erick will pass within about 200 miles south of the Big Island of Hawaii later today and tonight, August 1.
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