Hurricane Hector strengthens as it marches across Central Pacific

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Hurricane Hector has been upgraded to a category 4 storm early on Monday morning as the swirling vortex travelled towards the Hawaiian Islands.

Some weather predictions show the storm on a course to collide with the Kilauea Volcano, which has been spewing lava into communities on the Big Island for three months. Now, Hurricane Hector is forecast to slide along the south coast of the island by midweek.

Swells generated by Hector are expected to reach the southeast and east shores of the Big Island and eastern Maui later Wednesday, and produce large and unsafe surfs. "However, Hector is expected to still be a major hurricane when it moves into the central Pacific basin", the National Hurricane Center said.

The Central Pacific Hurricane Center forecasts that Hector will continue to travel toward the WNW at an increased forward speed through Tuesday, followed by a westward motion Tuesday night through Friday.

Even as a months-long volcanic eruption goes on, Hawaii is now on alert for a unsafe hurricane forecast to pass south of the islands at midweek.

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The current eruption is the longest non-stop eruption on record from Kilauea's lower East Rift Zone.

Hurricane Hector is gaining strength as it barrels through the Pacific - and could make landfall in Hawaii by the middle of the week.

So far, lava from Kilauea volcano destroyed buildings and homes causing thousands to evacuate nearby areas, but in mid-July, a lava bomb from the volcano hit a nearby boat and injured 23 people. "After that, gradual weakening is forecast Monday night through Wednesday". Any deviation northward could bring Hector close enough to impact the Big Island.

Though the center of the hurricane will likely miss Hawaii, heavy rain from the storm is likely to pelt portions of the Big Island.

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