Henriette strengthens to Category 1 hurricane, strongest storm of year

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Hurricane Henriette became the strongest storm of the 2013 U.S. hurricane season after winds swelled to 90 mph on Tuesday morning as it barreled through the Pacific Ocean, said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Henriette's winds are expected to reach 100 mph as the hurricane makes its way northwest toward Hawaii, said Chris Vaccaro, the director of public affairs at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

While Henriette will increase to a Category 2 hurricane, Vaccaro said forecasts show the storm will weaken to a tropical depression before passing south of Hawaii over the weekend. 

The storm is currently centered about 1,545 miles east of Hawaii but, “at this time, we do not anticipate Henriette making a landfall,” said NOAA meteorologist Dennis Feltgen.

The Pacific has seen eight named storms in 2013 — four of which have advanced to hurricanes — while the Atlantic has experienced four tropical storms, said Vaccaro. “The eastern Pacific basin tends to be more active than the Atlantic” during hurricane season, he said.

However, the NOAA has predicted that hurricane activity in the Atlantic is predicted to be above average this year.

The eastern Pacific hurricane season began on May 8, while the Atlantic season began June 1.

Feltgen said that the peak of the season is yet to come for both regions. He said the heaviest hurricane activity usually occurs between mid-August and late October. Hurricane season wraps up in the Atlantic and the Pacific on Nov. 1, he said.