In the Central and Eastern Pacific, signs of an especially turbulent tropical atmosphere have been reported. Has this active weather system affected the predicament in Hawaii, where rescue attempts are ongoing in Lahaina after the destructive fire last week?
Forecasters are staying abreast of two Pacific tropical features that may affect the wind movements in the Hawaiian islands. Tropical Storm Greg is active in the Central Pacific, located about 600 miles to the southwest of the metropolis of Hilo situated on the Big Island of Hawaii.
It was early Wednesday when Greg picked up velocity and started to move west at a rate of 14 mph. The storm has been projected to move towards the south of Hawaii for the following few days prior to pivoting to the west-northwest by the culminating of the week.
The considerable high pressure situated in the northeastern Pacific Ocean, when combined with Greg's circulation, will shape the trade winds blowing across the islands. These winds are expected to have a moderate impact on the islands up until Thursday, with the high pressure sustaining its form.
Slimmer winds than those experienced in Maui the prior week provide a reprieve against the onset of wildfires over the islands.
Despite this, the south coast of the Big Island can still be prone to intense rip currents due to Tropical Storm Greg for the remainder of the week. For this reason, beach visitors must heed all alerts and take extra caution.
Those by the Big Island and Maui should be aware that a small craft advisory is active until 6 pm local time Thursday in preparation for the possible ramifications.
In the East Pacific, Hurricane Fernanda is expected to advance toward the Hawaiian Islands soon. On Wednesday, the Category 1 hurricane was twirling southwest of Mexico with no land in the way; its maximum sustained winds were 75 mph and the wind field extended out 25 miles.
It is expected that Fernanda will decrease wind strength as it veers west, sinking it below tropical cyclone appellation. For the Hawaiian islands, Fernanda will still bring gusts of wind plus patches of rain, likely beginning in the concluding days of this weekend and extending beyond the commencement of the week ahead.
Unfortunately, accelerated wind speeds may be the cause for further wildfire outbreaks, which could make it all the more difficult to control present fires.
The tropical wave that is heading south away from Mexico may pick up tropical features in the upcoming days, and hurricane watchers are warning of its possible intensification due to the favorable conditions.
The next tropical storm that forms in the East Pacific will be called Hilary.
More than one hundred people have been reported dead in the Maui wildfires, and Governor Josh Green reported that identifying all of the victims has been challenging due to the fact that the bodies were so badly burned. Family members have been asked to give DNA samples to accelerate the identification process, and a portable morgue containing X-rays and other identification technologies is in use to assist in the process.
Rescue personnel with assistance from approximately twenty cadaver dogs are straining to search through the debris for more human remains. This unfortunate occurrence in Maui is remembered as the deadliest wildfire in the U.S. in over a century.
Official sources caution that the number of unaccounted persons is uncertain. So far, just 5 of the 106 corpses have been identified. Close to one-third of the search zone has been combed through till Tuesday evening, a week into the incident.
Eighty-five percent of the Lahaina fire is already blocked off, resulting in a significant reduction of casualties. As for the Kula fire in Maui's Upcountry, 60% of it has been contained, as reported by authorities.