(Reuters) - As Hurricane Erick gained strength in the eastern Pacific as it churned toward Hawaii, another weather system, tropical storm Flossie brewing farther east is likely to become a hurricane later on Tuesday, forecasters said.
Tropical Storm Erick grew into a hurricane late on Monday in the eastern Pacific, packing maximum sustained winds of 80 mph (130 kph) as it churned more than 1,000 miles (1,610 km) from Hawaii’s Big Island.
Erick, the Pacific season’s third hurricane, is rated Category 1 on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale and could reach category 3, with sustained winds of more than 111 mph (178 kph) in the next two days, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.
“A weakening trend is expected to begin later in the week,” it said in an advisory.
The weather system is expected to weaken back into a tropical storm by the time it makes its closest approach to Hawaii, and is forecast to skirt south of the Big Island on Friday morning. Forecasts call for a higher chance of gale-force winds from the storm on the Big Island later this week.
Another tropical storm, Flossie, was trailing Erick farther out in the eastern Pacific, packing winds of 65 mph (100 kph) early on Tuesday.
Flossie is expected to become the fourth hurricane of the Pacific this season later in the day, forecasters said. It was about 965 miles (1550 km) southwest of Baja, California, an advisory said, and was slowly headed west.
Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta and Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Bernadette Baum