Hurricane Lane is barreling west across the Pacific Ocean on a course that will bring it close to Hawaii next week. With winds of 100 mph, Lane is now a Category 2 hurricane on a scale of one to five. It is now expected to reach Category 4, with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph this weekend.
“Lane’s cloud pattern has improved significantly this morning, and the cyclone is currently undergoing rapid intensification,” the National Hurricane Center writes in its latest update.
Rapid intensification is defined as an increase in wind speeds of at least 35 mph over the course of 24 hours. With the increase in wind speed also comes a decrease in central pressure. Rapid intensification has been a frequent occurrence in all tropical cyclone basins of late, and was seen on numerous occasions during the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season.
“Lane appears poised for further rapid strengthening during the next 24 hours,” the Hurricane Center added. “Impressive outflow in all quadrants, warm [sea surface temperatures], and the absence of earlier noted dry air intrusion all point to this scenario.”
Lane comes on the heels of Hurricane Hector, which nearly reached Category 5 strength in its run by Hawaii earlier this month. That was part of a 4,200-mile journey across the Pacific. Although Lane is south of where Hector was at this point in its life, Lane may end up taking a similar path.
Hurricane Lane is part of tropical cyclones that have tracked closer to Hawaii than common in the recent past. Increases in the availability of warm water and favorable atmospheric conditions are attributes of climate change which may be facilitating the increased frequency of close passes there.