Hurricane Hector closing in on Hawaii and volcano

Hurricane Hector could collide with erupting Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii

Hurricane Hector is forecast to slide just south of the Hawaiian Islands this week.

The US National Hurricane Centre in Miami said the hurricane poses no short-term threat to land.

While the latest eruptions started in May, the volcano has spewed lava since the 1980s, becoming a major tourist destination even as it threatened nearby residents.

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

"Hector is our first hurricane this year", said Tom Travis, administrator of Hawaii Emergency Management Agency in a statement to the Honolulu Star Advertiser.

Hector is about 1360 miles (2190 kilometers) east of South Point, Hawaii, and is forecast to cross into the central Pacific by Sunday night or early Monday.

The NHC said: "A motion toward the west-northwest at an increased forward speed is expected through Monday night, followed by a westward motion Tuesday and Wednesday".

Meanwhile, forecasters also have their eyes on two Tropical Storms in the Eastern Pacific. "By 48 h, the hurricane is predicted to encounter some drier mid-level air which is forecast to cause gradual weakening after that time".

Some predictions put the category 4 storm on course to collide directly with the Kilauea Volcano, although the National Weather Service predicts it will be a near-miss.

A tropical storm watch is in effect for the Big Island of Hawaii due to the the chance for winds of 39 miles per hour or stronger on Wednesday.

Scientists have differing opinions over how hurricanes and volcanoes might interact, including the question of whether low atmospheric pressure could help trigger an eruption.

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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