Hurricane in the Pacific Today: Hurricane Iselle Reaches Category 4 Status, Heading for Hawaii (+Photo)

Hurricane Iselle strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane today, according to the National Hurricane Center.

As of 8:00 a.m. PDT (11:00 a.m. EDT), the Iselle hit maximum sustained wind speeds of 140 miles per hour (MPH), which puts it in the Category 4 range on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. A Category 4 hurricane has sustained wind speeds of between 130 to 156 MPH.

The hurricane is presently heading for Hawaii, and as for 8:00 a.m. PDT, is 1245 miles east of Hil, and is headed west at a speed of 10 miles per hour. 

Forecasters expect it to weaken to a tropical storm by the time it makes landfall by Friday morning.

Iselle, which formed last Tuesday as a low pressure area off the southwestern coast of Mexico, strengthened on Thursday, and became a hurricane on Friday.

According to NHC hurricane specialist Robbie Berg, “It hasn’t been particularly steady, but Iselle continues on a gradual strengthening trend.

“The eye has cleared out in infrared satellite imagery, and the overall presentation has become a little more symmetric.

“The NHC forecast maintains Iselle at 100 knots (115 MPH) for the next 12 hours and then only gradually weakens it through 48 hours, but given the hurricane’s history, I can’t rule out some additional strengthening in the short term,” Berg added.

Iselle will be the ninth tropical cyclone of the Eastern Pacific hurricane season, which started on May 15.

See a photo of Hurricane Iselle below.