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Felicia remains major Category 4 hurricane in East Pacific but expected to start weakening soon

  • NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER
                                The 5-day forecast map for Hurricane Felicia as of 11 p.m. today.

    NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER

    The 5-day forecast map for Hurricane Felicia as of 11 p.m. today.

  • COURTESY NOAA
                                This color-enhanced satellite image shows the Category 3 Hurricane Felicia more than 2,000 miles southeast of the Hawaiian islands today.

    COURTESY NOAA

    This color-enhanced satellite image shows the Category 3 Hurricane Felicia more than 2,000 miles southeast of the Hawaiian islands today.

  • NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER
                                Hurricane Felicia’s position relative to Hawaii, as of 5 a.m. this morning, is seen on this map.

    NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER

    Hurricane Felicia’s position relative to Hawaii, as of 5 a.m. this morning, is seen on this map.

UPDATE: 11 p.m.

Hurricane Felicia continued to move westward tonight as a Category 4 storm far off in the East Pacific.

As of 11 p.m., Felicia is 1,086 miles west-southwest of the southern tip of Baja California with winds at 130 mph. Felicia is moving toward the west-southwest near 9 mph. A turn to the west at a similar speed is expected over the weekend.

The National Hurricane Center said a very gradual weakening is forecast over the weekend with a faster rate of weakening expected by early next week.

5:20 p.m.

Hurricane Felicia, a powerful but compact Category 4 storm, maintained its strength today as it spins far off in the East Pacific.

As of about 5 p.m., Felicia had maximum sustained winds of 130 mph. It was about 2,120 miles east-southeast of Hilo and 1,030 miles west-southwest of Baja California and moving west at 9 mph.

Hurricane-force winds extend up to 15 miles from the center and tropical storm-force winds extend up to 60 miles out.

The storm poses no threat to any land and is expected to start weakening this weekend, with the National Hurricane Center in Miami predicting it to be a tropical storm by Wednesday when it enters the Central Pacific, still far from the Hawaiian islands.

”Slow weakening is expected to begin by late tonight or early Saturday and continue through early next week,” the 5 p.m. update says.

By Wednesday, forecasters expect the storm to continue weakening as it moves southwest over cooler seas, taking it well south of Hawaii.

While the storm is still too far away to know how it may affect Hawaii’s weather, authorities say it is a good reminder for all residents to check and restock their emergency kits, and to review their emergency plans.

11:10 a.m.

Hurricane Felicia appears to be peaking today as a powerful Category 4 storm far out in the East Pacific, according to the National Hurricane Center.

As of 11 a.m., the major hurricane was packing maximum sustained winds of 130 mph and was about 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 mph with hurricane-force winds of 75 mph or more extending 25 miles from its center, and tropical storm-force winds of at least 40 mph extending 75 miles.

“Some fluctuations in strength will be possible today, but slow weakening is expected to begin by late tonight or early Saturday,” forecasters at the Miami-based hurricane center said in their 11 a.m. update. That weakening is expected to continue well into next week and Felicia poses no threat to any land.

The current five-day forecast has Felicia entering the Central Pacific — still more than 1,000 miles away from Hawaii island — on Wednesday as a strong tropical storm. The projected track has the storm moving southwest early next week, which would take it farther away from Hawaii.

While the storm is still too far away to know how it may affect Hawaii’s weather, authorities say it is a good reminder for all residents to check and restock their emergency kits, and to review their emergency plans.

RELATED STORY: Hurricane Felicia gives reminder to remain prepared

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Now a Category 3 hurricane, Felicia continued to strengthen overnight.

Packing maximum sustained winds of 125 mph, Felicia was located 2,226 miles east-southeast of Hilo, heading west-southwest at 8 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Felicia is expected to continue on this course today, possibly turning to the west late tonight or early Saturday.

Some additional strengthening could occur today, with Felicia possibly becoming a Category 4 storm later this morning, forecasters said. However, slow weakening is expected to begin tonight and continue through this weekend.

Hurricane-force winds extend up to 25 miles from Felicia’s center and tropical storm-force winds extend up to 70 miles.

Felicia is expected to weaken to a tropical storm Wednesday morning as it approaches the Central Pacific, according to weather officials.

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