In what sounds like a scenario lifted from the script of a Hollywood disaster movie, two back-to-back hurricanes are currently moving their way toward Hawaii.
Hailed as a meteorological first, its thought the island state will feel the brunt of torrential rain and 125mph winds later this week - though there are fears that the first of the two twisters could make land on Hawaii's 'Big Island', becoming the first such hurricane to do since weather records began being officially recorded for Hawaii.
The Governor of Hawaii David Ige has issued an emergency warning for the state, outlining disaster relief in the case of flooding and wind damage expected as hurricane Madeline draws close to the south of the islands - which, due to the rotation of the hurricane, could batter Hawaii's south coast with waves and rain. It's expected to reach the main island between Wednesday 31 August and Thursday 1 September.
The second of the two hurricanes, named Lester, is roughly 1,000 miles east of Madeline. Weather site Weather Underground has described it as taking on more of the characteristics of "an annular hurricane... which raises the odds of Lester remaining strong enough to affect Hawaii as a hurricane". It's thought that Lester could move north of Hawaii's islands by Saturday - but a direct strike has not yet been ruled out.
Weather Underground meteorologist Bob Henson explained to Gizmodo that a rise in ocean temperatures is probably the cause of the unprecedented double hurricane. "Usually the waters [along this storm track] are on the edge of what’s needed to support hurricanes," Henson said. "Now, they’re just warm enough, and it’s making a big difference."
As ocean temperatures around Hawaii have slowly risen in recent years, Henson believes the state could be in for more potentially damaging hurricanes in future decades if the atmospheric conditions line up in a similar manner.
(Image: NASA/MSFC Earth Science Office)