Hurricane Hector strengthened to a Category 4 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 215 km/h (130 mph) and higher gusts, according to a United States National Hurricane Center report released at 17:00 (local time) on Saturday, August 4. The storm is forecast to remain a major hurricane as it moves west. Hector is currently located approximately 2240 km (1390 miles) east-southeast of Hilo, Hawai'i, and is moving west at 19 km/h (12 mph). Current forecasts place the storm passing south of Hawai'i by about 240 km (150 mi), though tropical storm-force winds are still expected to affect the islands, with the earliest winds hitting the eastern islands the evening of Tuesday, August 7, and western islands, including Oahu, on Wednesday, August 8. The hurricane will bring strong winds, heavy showers, and thunderstorms to the islands with east- and south-facing beaches, particularly on the Big Island and Maui, experiencing high surf and strong rip currents.
Hector formed as a tropical depression on Tuesday, July 31, before strengthening to a hurricane the morning of Thursday, August 2, two days ahead of its initially predicted schedule. The eastern Pacific hurricane season lasts from May to November.
Individuals present or traveling to Hawai'i are advised to keep abreast of weather alerts, adhere to any advice issued by local authorities, and refrain from beach or ocean activities; hurricanes can produce dangerous waves and deadly rip currents even at large distances from the storm. In the event of flooding, remember that driving and walking through running water can be dangerous - 15 cm (6 in) of running water is enough to knock over an adult - and that floodwater may contain wastewater or chemical products.
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