Fox News Weather Center

Strengthening Tropical Storm Gil Follows Flossie

In the wake of Flossie's rare track to Hawaii, Tropical Storm Gil is now gaining strength in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

Tropical Storm Gil took shape Tuesday afternoon and continues to track just north of west away from mainland Mexico.

The Hurricane Center expects Gil to continue strengthening, becoming a hurricane on Thursday.

As far as whether Gil follows in the footsteps of once-Tropical Storm Flossie and makes another rare track toward Hawaii, such a solution cannot be ruled out but is not likely.

A more favored scenario is for Gil to continue on a west-northwest track through the rest of the week, posing only a danger to shipping interests.

Gil's status of a hurricane should be brief with a weakening trend expected to commence Friday night.

Gil should eventually track south of Hawaii later next week but may not even be a tropical storm or depression at that time.

It would be extremely unusual for Gil to track similarly to Flossie and target the Hawaiian islands later next week.

As discussed during Flossie's existence, just one tropical storm or hurricane reaching Hawaii in a year is a rare feat in itself. The last such time before Flossie was Hurricane Iniki in 1992.

Only once since 1950 have two named storms, with tropical storm or hurricane strength, passed within 75 miles of Hawaii. Gilma and Iwa from 1982 make up that rare occurrence.

Gilma was a weakening tropical storm as it tracked south of the Big Island for the start of August. Hurricane Iwa followed in late November and passed extremely close to the islands of Niihau and Kauai.

Iwa, and the only two hurricanes that have made landfall in Hawaii since 1950, all arrived from the warm waters to the south. Such tracks, however, are not common in the central Pacific Ocean.

The majority of tropical systems in the eastern and central Pacific move from east to west. The ones that do approach Hawaii are typically forced to weaken due to the cool waters that lie east of the islands.