Hurricanes Erick and Flossie could both affect Hawaii

Doyle Rice, USA TODAY

A pair of Pacific hurricanes – Erick and now Flossie – could both affect Hawaii over the next few days, forecasters say.

On Tuesday, Erick grew into a "major" hurricane in the central Pacific Ocean and is forecast to approach Hawaii toward the end of the week, forecasters said Tuesday.

But the Central Pacific Hurricane Center said Erick should begin losing strength Wednesday and gradually weaken back into a tropical storm before sliding south of Hawaii on Thursday and Friday.

"Impacts such as higher surf, strong winds or heavy rainfall are possible even with this tropical system passing south of the Big Island," the National Weather Service in Honolulu said. "These additional local island-by-island impacts are highly dependent upon the size, intensity and track of Erick as it moves through the Hawaii region. A wet weather pattern for sure."

Erick is not forecast to make a direct hit on Hawaii, meteorologists said.

As of 5 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Erick was about 840 miles east-southeast of Hilo, Hawaii. It had maximum sustained winds of 130 mph and was moving to the west at 15 mph.

That makes Erick a Category 4 "major" hurricane, the hurricane center said.

Another tropical system, Flossie, reached hurricane status in the eastern Pacific Ocean Tuesday afternoon.

As of 5 p.m. EDT, Flossie was centered about 1,045 miles southwest of the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula and was moving west at 14 mph. The hurricane had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph. 

Flossie could take a similar or perhaps even more northerly track than Erick, AccuWeather said. That could put Hawaii in the forecast path of Flossie by early next week.

"It is too early to tell the exact track that Flossie will take, but early indications suggest that it may either pass directly over the islands or just to the north," AccuWeather meteorologist Kyle Elliott said. 

Flossie is the fourth hurricane of the Pacific hurricane season, the hurricane center said.

Closer to the U.S. mainland, forecasters were watching a system in the Caribbean Sea that has a 10% chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm within the next five days.

"This system is expected to move west-northwestward with no significant development during the next few days, producing locally heavy rainfall over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, Hispaniola and portions of the southeastern Bahamas," the hurricane center said.

All of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands were under a flash flood watch because of the heavy rain from the system. 

"Under this weather pattern, widespread showers and thunderstorms will maintain a high risk for flooding over portions of the islands through the short-term period," the National Weather Service in San Juan said. "As soils become saturated, the potential of mudslides in steep terrain will remain high through at least Wednesday."

By week's end, the system should be near Florida or the Bahamas. 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Hurricane Erick and Hurricane Flossie could both affect Hawaii