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Kilo in West Pacific May Threaten Hawaii as Hurricane Next Week

A new tropical system, named Kilo, has taken shape in the central Pacific and could impact Hawaii by next week as a hurricane, depending upon the track.

Residents and visitors will need to monitor the strength and track of Tropical Storm Kilo, currently south of the Hawaiian Islands. Significant impacts could be felt as early as Monday.

The system is currently a tropical storm located 720 miles (1160 km) southeast of Honolulu and is expected to strengthen to a hurricane this weekend.

The system could reach Category 2 hurricane status by the time it approaches waters on the western flank of the islands at midweek.

AccuWeather meteorologists believe that the system will track to the west-northwest through the weekend before making a northward turn next week.

Depending on how soon that northward turn occurs will determine whether or not significant impacts of flooding rain, damaging winds and coastal flooding reach Ni'ihau, Kaua'i and Oahu.

Surf will build along the south-facing shoreline of the islands this weekend. Small craft operators should pay particular attention to the system.

Except for the east-facing slopes of the islands, much of the island chain could stand a thorough soaking, shy of flooding rainfall.

Portions of all of the islands are either abnormally dry or in moderate drought, according to the United States Drought Monitor.

Should the center of the system pass safely west of the islands next week, there may still be a plume of tropical moisture surging northward on the eastern flank of the storm.

This moisture could be enough to bring drenching downpours to the islands, especially the central and northwestern islands in the chain.

Either way, it appears the islands will get some rain from the system, as it turns northward and interacts with a front approaching from the northwest.

The question remains will the system track so close to bring the risk of flooding and damaging winds or just beneficial/nuisance rainfall. will continue to provide updates on the storm through next week.

The type of track forecast is uncommon for systems to take in the central Pacific.

According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Lada, typically, tropical systems approach Hawaii from the east, impacting the Big Island first, then progress westward across the island chain.

"Storms that move in from the east tend to weaken considerably before reaching the Big Island," Lada said.

El Niño years are a reason for concern for possible tropical storm and hurricane strikes on Hawaii.

During El Nino, it is not uncommon for there to be a higher-than-normal number of tropical systems in the central Pacific due to the warmer waters of the Pacific Ocean.

This means that Hawaii could face a few more tropical threats heading into the fall before the tropical cyclone season in the central Pacific comes to an end.

A few systems have hit Hawaii from the south. These tend to have much more impact. Hurricane Iniki was the strongest tropical system to ever hit Hawaii.

Counting the current system, there have been five tropical systems that have developed over the waters of the central Pacific, meaning that it will only take one more system to make 2015 an above-normal year for tropical cyclone activity.

AccuWeather Meteorologists Brian Lada and Alex Sosnowski contributed content to this story.