- (Screen Grab: The Weather Channel)
Hurricane Henriette increased in intensity after sustained winds topped 90 mph on Tuesday morning to become the strongest storm of the 2013 U.S. hurricane season, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Forecasters expect Henriette's winds to reach 100 mph as the hurricane makes its way northwest toward Hawaii, Chris Vaccaro, the director of public affairs at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said in a statement.
Henriette will likely be upgraded to a Category 2 hurricane in the coming days, but Vaccaro insisted that the storm will weaken to a tropical depression before passing south of Hawaii sometime on Sunday.
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 hurricane is expected to head northwest and then gradually begin to head west over the next five days. Forecasters are stating that as of now it does not look like the storm will make landfall, but are still keeping the possibility open, according to forecasting reports by Weather.com.
The hurricane is expected to gain strength over the next two days, but is expected to weaken as it is met with more stable air and cooler waters on Thursday.
As occurred with Tropical storm Flossie, the climatology of tropical cyclones weakening when they approach Hawaii from the east is expected to hold true in the case of Henriette.
If the storm continues along current models it is estimated that it could have an impact on the Hawaiian Islands sometime Sunday evening or Monday local time.
This has been a relatively active season in the Eastern Pacific with eight named storms so far this season. On average, there are only three Eastern Pacific hurricanes by the first week of August with hurricane season running until Nov. 1.