Hurricane Ignacio churns toward Hawaii

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(Satellite image from the National Weather Service's Central Pacific Hurricane Center)

(Satellite image from the National Weather Service’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center)

HONOLULU — Don’t get complacent.

That was the message from Hawaii’s top emergency management official Friday, as Hurricane Ignacio bore down on the island state.

Ignacio was still a ways from land Friday: some 785 miles east-southeast of Hilo and 995 miles east-southeast on Honolulu as of 11 a.m. (5 p.m. ET), according to the National Weather Service’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center. No warnings were in effect.

Given its pace and northwest direction, the forecast calls for it directly impacting Hawaii starting Sunday evening.

“We understand the public is fatigued from experiencing four major approaching storms so far this season, but we urge people to take the weekend to prepare their homes and families for impacts that could be felt statewide,” state Emergency Management administrator Doug Mayne said in a press release.

“Severe weather associated with Ignacio is expected, and with Jimena not far behind, we need to ready ourselves and our loved ones as much as possible with the time we have.”

Mayne was referring to Jimena, now well offshore in the Pacific Ocean. Then there’s a slew of other tropical systems that have menaced Hawaii recently, the latest being Tropical Storm Kilo.

Boasting 90 mph sustained winds, Hurricane Ignacio is expected to get even stronger — up to 105 mph — over the next two days. The forecast calls for it to weaken some after that, though it should still be a hurricane when it affects Hawaii.

While they won’t get the worst of the rain and winds right away, residents and visitors will start seeing effects Saturday in the form of “extreme sea conditions, sea surge and high surf,” the Coast Guard said in a press release.

“Even the best swimmers can fall victim to the strong waves and currents caused by storms,” the Coast Guard said. “Swimmers are urged to stay clear of beaches until local officials say the water is safe. Local waters can also become contaminated due to runoff for several days following a storm.”

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