Hurricane gathers force as it heads toward Hawaii and volcano

Hurricane gathers force as it heads toward Hawaii and volcano

Farther out in the Pacific, Hurricane Hector strengthened again into a Category 4 storm, with winds of 130 miles per hour (215 kph), the hurricane center reported.

Storms of that strength, classified as a Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale, are considered capable of causing devastating damage to populated areas. Hector related weather forecast impacts for other islands will need to wait until the time period gets closer.

Hawaii faces a new threat in the form of Hurricane Hector, a Category 3 storm that is churning its way towards the Big Island.

The Hawaii Coast Guard has set a port condition of "WHISKEY" due to the impending storm, during which time commercial traffic and transfer operations are allowed to continue.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Ileana had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph) and was centered about 165 miles (265 kilometers) south-southwest of Puerto Escondido.

"Slow weakening is forecast during the next few days".

While the latest eruptions started in May, the volcano has spewed lava since the 1980s, becoming a major tourist destination even as it threatened nearby residents.

Hurricane Hector was carrying 205 kmph winds westward across the Pacific Ocean early today.

Hector is expected to hit Hawaii's Big Island late on Wednesday morning.

Scientists differ over how hurricanes and volcanoes might interact, including the question of whether low atmospheric pressure could help trigger an eruption.

CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said while Hector is heading in Big Island 's general direction, it's too early to tell if it's on a collision course with the volcano.

Though the center of the hurricane will likely miss Hawaii, heavy rain from the storm is likely to pelt portions of the Big Island.