Hurricane Hector returns to Category 4 as it nears Hawaii

NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER           The 5-day forecast con for Hurricane Hector as of 5 a.m. Friday

NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER The 5-day forecast con for Hurricane Hector as of 5 a.m. Friday

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Ileana had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph) and was centred about 165 miles (265 kilometres) south-southwest of Puerto Escondido.

On the forecast track, Hector could make its closest pass to Hawaii's Big Island on Wednesday.

Hurricane Hector became a Category 4 storm for a few hours early Sunday but then dipped back to Category 3, still a unsafe force, as it headed across the Pacific, threatening to hit Hawaii's Big Island and possibly its active volcano, officials said early Sunday.

Hurricane Hector picked up strength as it entered the Central Pacific Basin, according to forecasters.

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Some weather predictions show the storm on a course to collide with the Kilauea Volcano, which has been spewing lava into communities on the Big Island for three months.

"Very rough surf is expected to impact mostly south- and east-facing coastal areas of the Big Island", AccuWeather meteorologist Dan Kottlowski said.

Mayor Harry Kim says officials are preparing for whatever nature brings.

Big Island officials are taking precautions in advance of the storm nearing the state.

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The County of Hawai'i reports that the county is preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Hector in the Central Pacific region later this week.

So far, Kilauea's eruption has been ongoing for 93 days straight and more than two dozen volcanic fissures have opened up.

"The track of the hurricane still has the center passing well south of the main Hawaiian island at this time", Brink said Sunday morning.

A tropical storm watch is in effect Monday for waters south of the Big Island.

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The eruptions have displaced thousands of residents, damaged roads and destroyed hundreds of homes.

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