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Fernanda weakens to a Category 1 storm


    Hurricane Fernanda’s 5-day forecast cone.


    This enhanced satellite view shows three storms in the Eastern Pacific, all headed west and predicted to weaken.

Update 5 a.m.

Fernanda weakened to a Category 1 hurricane overnight and forecasters say it will continue to weaken over the next couple of days.

At 5 a.m. today, Hurricane Fernanda was located about 1,290 miles east of Hilo moving northwest at 8 mph, according to forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Maximum sustained winds were measured near 85 mph.

“A turn toward the west-northwest is expected later today, with this motion continuing through Friday,” weather officials said. “Additional weakening is forecast during the next couple of days, and Fernanda is expected to weaken to a tropical storm tonight or Thursday.”

Earlier coverage

Fernanda remained a Category 2 hurricane but forecasters say it will soon face cooler waters and wind shear that will “spin down” the storm to a shell of itself by the time it closes in on Hawaii next week.

At 5 p.m. Tuesday, Fernanda churning in the Eastern Pacific with 100 mph maximum sustained winds, 1,375 miles east of Hilo, and moving northwest at 9 mph, according to forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Hurricane-force winds extend out 30 miles, while tropical storm force winds of at least 39 mph extended 115 miles from the center.

Fernanda, which peaked over the weekend as a Category 4 hurricane, is forecast to weaken considerably over the next five days. By Sunday, Fernanda is expected to be a post-tropical low hundreds of miles northwest of the Big Island with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph.

”Toward the end of the forecast period, increasing southwesterly shear associated with a developing cut-off low north of the Hawaiian islands is expected to further support a gradual spin-down of Fernanda,” the latest forecast said.

The hurricane is one of three Eastern Pacific storm systems being monitored by the National Hurricane Center. Tropical Storm Greg was 490 miles southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico, with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph and moving west at 10 mph. Tropical Depression Eight-E was 860 miles southwest of the southern tip of Baja California with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph, moving west at 5 mph. Like Fernanda, both storms are forecast to weaken as they move west.

Fernanda is forecast to exit the Eastern Pacific on Thursday when the Central Pacific Hurricane Center on Oahu will take over monitoring of the storm.

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