Hurricane Iselle is churning towards the central Pacific this evening as a major category 3 hurricane with winds of 115 MPH. Its current forecast track brings it over the state of Hawaii later this week, possibly making landfall on Oahu this Friday as a moderate tropical storm.

Iselle is pretty well organized at the moment, which makes sense given its intense winds. The storm has a good structure and a nice, clear eye. Despite its good looks, the National Hurricane Center notes in its latest discussion that increasing vertical wind shear and cooler waters will lead to a "rapid weakening trend" after Tuesday.

The forecasters also mention that most model guidance still shows the storm remaining at tropical storm status when it reaches the Hawaiian islands at the end of the week. Spaghetti models (shown above) are also in fairly good agreement that Iselle will move near or directly over Hawaii in four or five days.

Residents should be aware of the potential for strong winds, heavy rain, high waves, and rip currents as the storm approaches this week. Keep an eye on the forecasts and have a plan ready if you're in Hawaii this week. The biggest mistake tourists make during a natural disaster is to assume they know better than local authorities if they're told to get out.

Once Hurricane Iselle crosses 140°W longitude — which is currently forecast to occur on Tuesday — responsibility for the storm will transfer from the National Hurricane Center in Miami to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu.

[Top graphic created by the author, model image via University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee]