DISCUSSION: There is no debate that over the past two weeks and then some, Hurricane Hector put on quite a show across the Eastern, Central, and now Western Pacific Ocean basins. Even at the present time, Hector still remains to be a tropical storm over in the Western Pacific Ocean basin. However, the main attraction when it comes to the 2018 Hurricane Hector was the performance this tropical cyclone put on across the Eastern and Central Pacific Ocean basins since around 28 July through 11 August. During that time, Hurricane Hector went on to impress the global meteorological and non-meteorological communities alike with a very persistent ability to remain a powerful tropical cyclone. Moreover, during that period of time, it went on to pass well to the south of the state of Hawaii. In particular, Hurricane Hector ended up moving within 150 miles or so of the southern-most island which staved off the worst of the storm's impacts.
It also helped that the circulation of Hector was rather tightly-wrapped throughout its lifetime without much fluctuation in size throughout most of its existence as a hurricane across the Eastern and Central Pacific Ocean basins. Furthermore, during a good portion of its time as a hurricane, it also developed and maintained what is referred to as an annular structure which is where there is nearly a perfect energy distribution through the storm's inner core. What was most impressive about Hurricane Hector was how long the annular structure persisted within this particular tropical cyclone. Often times, annular tropical cyclones form when a tropical cyclone moves over abundantly warm ocean water and very minimal shear with allows tropical cyclones to sometimes develop near-perfectly balanced energy distributions. However, there are often variations with respect to how long tropical cyclones maintain their annular structure for. Yet, in the case of Hurricane Hector, there was an unusually long persistence which was almost the perfect scenario for a tropical cyclone including the fact that there were little to impacts to land.
Attached above is a neat graphic (courtesy of Meteorologist Michael Lowry from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Hurricane Center (NHC)). In the above graphic, you can see the other hurricanes which have passed within 150 miles of Hawaii since 1949 which helps to put things in perspective in the context of the recent track of Hurricane Hector. Though it certainly was not the closest hurricane to approach and/or impact the U.S. state of Hawaii, there is still a lot of be said for the show this powerful tropical cyclone put on in the context of the state-of-the-art GOES-16 (i.e., GOES-East) satellite imager.
To learn more about other high-impact weather events occurring across the Central and Eastern Pacific Ocean, be sure to click here!
© 2018 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz