Pali is earliest hurricane to develop in central Pacific on reco - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Pali is earliest hurricane to develop in central Pacific on record

Satellite imagery of Pali at 5 a.m. Tuesday (Image source: NOAA) Satellite imagery of Pali at 5 a.m. Tuesday (Image source: NOAA)
Forecast track for Pali at 5 a.m. Tuesday (Image source: CPHC) Forecast track for Pali at 5 a.m. Tuesday (Image source: CPHC)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

An out-of-season tropical system has formed far southwest of Hawaii, making it the earliest central Pacific hurricane to form on record.

At 5 a.m. Tuesday, Hurricane Pali was located about 1,345 miles southwest of Honolulu and was moving south at 7 mph, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center. It is forecast to slowly turn toward the southwest. 

It poses no threat to land.

Pali had maximum sustained winds near 90 mph with higher gusts, making it a Category 1 hurricane. The storm is expected to slowly weaken through Thursday morning.

Hurricane Pali is the second out-of-season storm to form in the Central Pacific basin. Tropical Depression Nine-C formed on New Year's Eve, but dissipated within a day. 

Pali is also the earliest storm to develop on record. 

Only two other tropical storms have formed in the central Pacific in the month of January since 1949. Tropical Storm Winona was previously the first, developing on Jan. 13, 1989. The second was Ekeka, developing on Jan. 28, 1992, according to weather.com. Ekeka reached Category 3 hurricane intensity.

The 2015 hurricane season in Hawaii officially ended Nov. 30, and the 2016 season doesn't start until June 1.

But forecasters have warned residents to expect out-of-season cyclones. The storms are developing thanks to a strong El Niño, a global weather phenomenon driven by warm surface water in the Eastern Pacific.

"Whenever you have a strong El Niño, it makes it more likely that you have an out-of-season storm," said Peter Donaldson, National Weather Service forecaster.

Because of El Niño, Hawaii saw its most active hurricane season on record in 2015, with 16 tropical cyclones. Sea temperatures are still warmer than normal, which is why out-of-season cyclones remain a threat.

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