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Fox News Weather Center

Ignacio to Target Hawaiian Islands Early Next Week

The Hawaiian Islands have been alert since Ignacio became the seventh tropical system to become a hurricane during the 2015 Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season late on Wednesday night.

This system formed during the evening hours on Aug. 25, and became a hurricane about a day later.

Ignacio remains a high-end Category 1 hurricane, and is expected to gradually strengthen during the next 24 hours.

Although conditions have been very favorable for Ignacio to strengthen, it has maintained its Category 1 status for the past few days, due to its interactions with dry air to the west.

The interaction between Ignacio and this pocket of dry air will be the primary reason why Ignacio will be slow to strengthen, peaking in intensity over the next 24 hours.

It is expected that Ignacio will eventually strengthen to a Category 2 hurricane by Saturday afternoon or evening, but further strengthening beyond that window is not likely.

AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Michael LeSeney confirmed Ignacio will slightly strengthen, stating

"Recent satellite imagery shows deep convection surrounding the storm's core and Ignacio will likely become a Category 2 hurricane."

Since Ignacio is still a little over 700 miles east-southeast of Hilo, Hawaii, the impacts from this storm will not begin to be felt until later this weekend.

The Hawaiian Islands will begin to experience impacts from Ignacio, as the threat for rip currents and rough seas begin to increase on Sunday, with the potential to become quite dangerous late on Sunday into Monday.

Ignacio will continue to shift towards the northwest, bringing it closer to the Hawaiian Islands on Monday.

The northwestward progression will bring Ignacio into an environment of cooler ocean waters, drier air, and increasing shear.

These factors will begin to weaken Ignacio by Monday, and this will be the trend until it will become a tropical storm as it passes just north of the Hilo on Tuesday.

"Ignacio will pass to the north of the Hawaiian Islands impacting the islands with rough surf and strong rip currents", warned LeSeney

As Ignacio treks to the north of the Hawaiian Islands, dangerous surf, gusty winds and locally heavy rain is expected to impact the eastern coastlines of the Hawaiian Islands on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Hilo will be the first to feel the impacts of Ignacio, with Honolulu experiencing impacts closer to Tuesday as Ignacio parallels the islands.

Ignacio will steadily weaken through the middle of the week, however gusty winds along with lingering showers, heavy at times, will persist through Wednesday, before this system pulls away from the region.