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Hurricane gathers force as it heads toward Hawaii and volcano

Hurricane gathers force as it heads toward Hawaii and volcano

The storm was about 1,390 miles southeast of the Hawaiian islands on Sunday and should cross into the central Pacific ocean by Sunday night or early Monday morning.

The forecast for the middle of the week, from Tuesday night through Thursday, hinges on the track and intensity of Hurricane Hector.

Hawaii's Big Island is preparing for a possible hurricane - while a volcano continues to erupt on its shore. Now, Hurricane Hector is forecast to slide along the south coast of the island by midweek.

The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said Hurricane Hector is recording sustained winds of 140mph, which are capable of causing devastating damage to populated areas.

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.

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Gradual weakening is forecast over the next few days.

On Friday, state officials warned residents and visitors to take precautions in case Hector gets closer to the island chain. Kilauea's latest volcanic event began more than three months ago, sending destructive currents of lava into neighborhoods on the island's southeast side.

Mayor Harry Kim said the session was aimed at getting staff familiar with the background regarding the storm, which was approaching the 140-degree longitude boundary into the Central Pacific.

Scientists differ over how hurricanes and volcanoes might interact, including the question of whether low atmospheric pressure from a major cyclone could help trigger an eruption, and much remains unknown on the subject.

A tropical storm watch is in effect Monday for waters south of the Big Island.