Hurricane Flossie has formed in the open Pacific, gathering up enough wind speed after first forming as a tropical storm two days ago, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said Friday.
Flossie's winds increased to 75 mph and a slight strengthening is expected during the next 24 hours, the center said.
On Friday morning, the hurricane was hundreds of miles off the coast of Mexico and 1,300 miles southeast of Hawaii, moving west at 14 mph, said Richard Knabb, a hurricane specialist with the center.
Flossie could remain a hurricane for the next two days but is expected to weaken by the time it nears Hawaii, in about four days, Knabb said. Flossie is forecast to move south of the islands, possibly as a tropical storm.
“But even a system passing to the south can bring significant rain” and surf swells, he said, adding that Hawaiian residents should be on alert.
If the storm moves farther north, it will encounter cooler waters and should weaken. Tropical storms derive much of their force from the energy contained in warm waters.