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Henriette reaches hurricane strength; Gil weakens

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 1:35 a.m. HST, Aug 7, 2013

Hurricane Henriette continud to strengthen as its winds increased to 90 mph Tuesday, while Gil regained wind speed briefly before weakening into a post-tropical cyclone.

The storms are still a little too far away to say exactly how they will impact Hawaii's weather. But their tracks suggest Henriette will weaken and pass south of Hawaii. If it holds to the forecast track, Hawaii could see an increase in tradewinds and rain and a boost in surf this weekend. Gil is also expected to pass south of the islands.

Forecasters say Henriette may bring a small east and southeast swell starting Friday.

At 8 p.m., Henriette was about 1,450 miles east of Hilo, moving west northwest at 10 mph. Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center said Henriette could continue intensify today night as it moves over warm and moist waters, but should start to weaken over cooler waters starting Wednesday.

The storm’s path is expected to veer west southwest as it weakens and gets caught in the tradewind flow.

Forecasters caution that the official forecast path has a margin of error of 175 miles in each direction, and the forecast is likely to change before this weekend

“Some changes in our weather are possible by the weekend, but much depends on the movement and intensity of Hurricane Henriette,” said National Weather Service forecasters in Hawaii.

If Henriette moves to the northern edge of the forecast track, “it could mean higher winds and rain for the Big Island this weekend. If Henriette moves down the middle or left side of the cone, there might only be a small uptick in trades and an increase in trade wind showers as the system goes by,” forecasters said.

Traveling over warmer waters helped Gil re-intensify into a tropical storm overnight. Gil had winds of about 40 mph, up from 35 mph Monday, but quickly lost strength today and now has 30 mph sustained winds. Gil was about 935 miles east southeast of Hilo at 5 p.m.

Forecasters say Gil could regain strength again if conditions are right.

Some computer models suggest what’s left of Gil could take a northerly path and bring some humid and wet conditions Friday. But the official track takes the storm far south of the islands.

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