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Tropical Storm Erick expected to pass south of Hawaii

By UPI Staff, Accuweather.com
Tropical Storm Erick expected to pass south of Hawaii
Tropical Storm Erick, at left, moves west at about 17 mph Monday in the Pacific Ocean. Forecasters said it could become a hurricane early this week. Image courtesy NOAA/NHC

July 29 -- Tropical Storm Erick is forecast to become the eastern Pacific Ocean's latest hurricane as it wanders westward toward Hawaii this week.

The basin's most recent named system organized into a tropical depression over 1,000 miles southwest of Baja California early Saturday morning before quickly strengthening to a tropical storm. As of its 5 a.m. update Monday, the National Hurricane Center said Erick is 1,310 miles southeast of Hilo, Hawaii. It has maximum sustained wind speeds of 70 mph and is traveling west at 17 mph.

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Forecasters said Erick is expected to intensify into a hurricane early this week as it remains in an environment with very warm water and weak wind shear, two factors that promote the strengthening of tropical systems.

Erick would become the third hurricane of the 2019 East Pacific hurricane season, following Alvin and Barbara. Barbara brushed past Hawaii as a tropical rainstorm in early July.

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While it is too early to determine whether Erick will pose a direct threat to Hawaii, rough surf and increased rip currents will impact the Big Island at the very least, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Carl Erickson.

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Large swells propagating outward from the storm will impact the east-facing beaches of the Big Island as early as midweek. The highest surf will be along beaches exposed to the open ocean.

An uptick in locally gusty showers and thunderstorms may also occur as Erick makes its closest approach. Enough rain can fall to lead to localized incidents of flash and urban flooding.

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Just behind Erick, another area of disturbed weather is being monitored for tropical development over the next couple days. The brewing storm could also reach hurricane status as it takes a similar or perhaps even more northerly track than Erick.

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