You have probably seen some "click bait" on social media telling you a hurricane is on track to hit an active volcano. It's not. But having a strong hurricane in close proximity to an active volcano presents some interesting forecast challenges we will talk about below. 


DISCUSSION

Hurricanes are fueled by warm ocean water - that's why, when they make landfall, they usually weaken and/or slow down. If the hurricane made landfall on the Big Island, it's possible the heat given off from the volcano could continue to feed the hurricane so it won't weaken as much or as quickly. But remember, that's not what's happening with Hector.  Is the radius of heat from the island large enough to influence the hurricane? Is it heating the ocean to distances farther from the island that could increase the strength of the hurricane? Those circumstances are unlikely, but (in theory) not impossible.  

The National Weather Service office in Honolulu says Hector is expected to pass about 150 miles south of the Big Island which is under a Tropical Storm Watch.  This is the storm social media is freaking out about. What makes this even more interesting is the fact there are four named storms in the Pacific: Ileana, John, Kristy, and Hector (from right to left). 

Do you have thoughts to share? Want to weigh in on the debate about the volcano impacting the hurricane? Use the links below to find me on social media! 

-Hannah Strong

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