Tropical Stom Flossie could be the first ever recorded tropical storm to actually make landfall somewhere in Maui County. The last hurricane to strike Maui happened in 1853 (or 1857, according to some records) near Lahaina. That was long before there was a National Weather Service or other meteorological agency. Hawaii’s last devastating hurricane was – as most know – Iniki in 1992. Ten years earlier, Hurricane Ewa caused millions of dollars of damage. In each case, Kaua’i bore the brunt of the storms’ fury.
Each year a new list of storm names is aggreed upon and issued to the world – for storms originating in each part of the world. If a storm reaches tropical storm strength – or more – the name is “retired.” “Flossie” was the sixth named storm of the 2007 Eastern Atlantic Hurrican Season list. Since that particular storm originated off the coast of Africa, mintained enough strength to cross Central America, and strengthen even more upon entering the warm waters off western Mexico – it kept its original name as she trekked toward Hawai’i. In Augus, 2007, Hurricane Flossie finally came to a halt as it neared the Big Island. Flossie was, thereafter, removed from the list of potential storm names for storms that spawned in the eastern Atlantic.
Yet, here she comes “again.” As of 8 a.m. today HST, Flossie’s center was 160 mils ESE of Kahului, moving WNW at 20 mph. Doing the math, the “center” of Flossie will be over Maui County around 3 p.m. Maximum sustained winds are 40 mph, and extend outward up to 140 miles from the storm – meaning most of Maui County will begin to feel the impact by noon today.
Stay up to date with the Maui TV News real-time links, available here. We will be watching right along with you.
By Jeff King
“For the folks on the Big Island and Maui, if you’re preparing your home, you should be rushing those preparations to completion,” said Michael Cantin, a warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Honolulu.
“By the time you get up in the morning, the storm’s going to already be there and you won’t have any time,” he said. That was last night (Sunday).
This morning, however, is dawning bright, breezy and beautiful – and likely – deceptive (sorry, ran out of “b” adjectives).
The service on Sunday issued a tropical storm warning for Oahu, Hawaii’s most populous island with the city of Honolulu, to go along with previous warnings for the Big Island, Maui, Moloka’i and Lana’i. The warning means the storm represents a threat to life and property.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed an emergency proclamation in anticipation of the storm, allowing the state to use its disaster fund to pay for staff overtime, supplies and other resources. The proclamation also allows the state to call Hawaii National Guard members to duty, if necessary.
Eight emergency shelters have opened.
The U.S. Coast Guard also closed three ports – two on the Big Island where the storm is expected first and a third on Maui. College campuses and courts were also to be closed Monday on the Big Island.
Cantin said Sunday night that the system was weakening because winds in the higher levels of the atmosphere were beginning to move in more strongly, disrupting the circulation of the storm.
Cantin said wind gusts will likely be able to knock down power poles and blow away loose objects. He said people should be careful of trying to walk or drive across water if floods happen.
“It takes about 6 inches of water to knock you off your feet … 12 inches to move a vehicle,” he said.
The service also issued a tropical storm watch for Kauai and Niihau, a less severe notice asking people to make a plan and pay attention to see if things get worse.
Officials warned people to cancel beach trips, finish necessary storm preparations and evacuate if asked by local officials.
Mike McCartney, chief executive of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, said some airlines have begun to adjust flights and visitors should double-check plans.
Trails and campgrounds were also close on the Big Island, where state officials warned people to avoid forest areas until Flossie clears.
It’s not immediately clear which island faces the most danger, though the Big Island – the easternmost island in the archipelago – is likely the first in Flossie’s path. Flossie’s center was expected to pass near the Big Island and Maui on Monday morning and then south of Oahu several hours later on Monday evening into Tuesday morning.
The storm is expected to drop 6 inches to 10 inches of rain, with higher amounts on the eastern side and less on the western side of islands.
Waves of 12 to 18 feet are expected for the Big Island and Maui, with surf of 10 to 15 feet on other islands.
Despite the system weakening, the current forecast keeps Flossie as a tropical storm through Wednesday.
Meanwhile, in the Atlantic, the remnant of what was Tropical Storm Dorian is now a disorganized tropical rainstorm racing westward through the Caribbean, according to AccuWeather.
The storm may press far enough to the northwest Wednesday night and Thursday to enhance showers and thunderstorms across South Florida, including in Miami, Key West and Fort Lauderdale, AccuWeather meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski reports.
By Jeff King
As Tropical Storm Flossie is beginning to brush the Big Island this morning, and a revised path across Maui and the state has been issued, Maui TV News offers the following links for the information, latest status and probabilities surrounding Flossie:
As the event builds, we will expand this list as necessary. The last time Flossie approached, it appeared to be a formidable Category 1 hurricane due east of Hilo – before dissolving within 100 miles of the shore. That may happen again. But it could also just as easily be a major event, so prepare accordingly. Maui residents (and visitors) should always take nature seriously and have supplies on hand, as well as a “safe place” available to go if and when severe weather strikes.
EVENT: The Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu has continued the TROPICAL STORM WARNING for MAUI COUNTY.
A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the warning area within 36 hours.
EFFECTS: At 5:00 a.m. the center of Tropical Storm Flossie was located near latitude 20.5 north, longitude 153.5 west. Flossie is moving toward the west-northwest near 16 mph and this
motion is expected to continue for the next 48 hours.
Maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph, with higher gusts. Some weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 105 miles from the center. Tropical storm conditions are expected to reach Maui County by late morning.
Heavy rainfall is expected to begin this afternoon over Maui County. Flossie is expected to produce total rainfall amounts of 6 to 10 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 15 inches possible, mainly windward.
Dangerously high surf will spread to Maui County today and continue into Tuesday. The big surf may cause coastal road closures, even before the storm arrives.
A FLASH FLOOD WATCH IS ALSO IN EFFECT.
PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES: Continue to assemble your survival kit. Secure any loose objects that may become airborne. Prepare to leave areas that may flood. Stay indoors during high winds. Residents of east facing shores should remain cautious of the rising surf.
INFORMATION: Maui County Civil Defense will continue to monitor the situation. Please listen to your local radio and TV stations or NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts for any updates. NOAA Weather Broadcasts can be reached by calling 1-866-944-5025. NOAA Weather Internet services can be found at www.prh.noaa.gov/hnl .
Pre-recorded advisories and notifications are available 24-hours a day on the Maui County Automated Information System (AIS) by calling 986-1200.
By Jeff King
Grocery stores and “mega-outlets” were crammed to capacity today as many locals and visitors “finally” accepted the fact that the first tropical storm in our recorded history may – in fact – strike Maui Monday.
Tropical Storm “Flossie,” has been here before. Latest forensic tracking shows the “slightly wobbly” cyclone still making way toward the Big Island – and the rest of the Aloha State. See all the latest visuals, loops, animated track and forecast loops here.
Current estimates show the storm making landfall on the Big Island early Monday. Then – if estimates and tracking forecasts are correct, Maui will feel the effect very soon after that – and possibly sooner in the pre-dawn hours of M0nday. If all data predictors are correct, the “worst” of Flossie will happen at 1:15 p.m. Monday, July 29, across our island county. After that, the storm is expcted to move mostly harmlessly south of the state of Hawai’i, then degrade into a tropical depression.
Civil Defense, Mayor Alan Arakawa and all affected agencies are urging visitors and all residents to take this situation very seriously. If being “overly cautious” turns out to be the case, swell, Nobody died. However, if an “oh well” attitude prevails and folks are not ready and the worst happens – all of us will have been warned.
Think. Prepare. Enjoy the experience.
By Jeff King
Tropical Storm Flossie continues on a track that – as of 2 p.m. today – will pass over the North Kohala tip of the Big Island then slide through the Alenuihaha Channel and skirt the southern edge of the island of Maui before heading west just south of the state. As of 2 p.m. today HST, the center of Flossie was located 465 miles east of Kahului. Present winds are 60 m.p.h. Movement is to the west (280 degrees) at about 20 m.p.h. At that pase, the storm would arrive to Maui around 1 p.m. tomorrow, Monday.
Maui and the Big Island were placed under a Topical storm warning Saturday afternoon. Today, a tropical storm warning has been issued for the island of Oahu and a tropical storm watch has been issued for Kauai county. Updated local statements issued by WFO Honolulu as well as products issued by the Central Pacific Hurricane Center with more details on conditions associated with Flossie are listed on our website here.
A trade wind weather pattern is expected today, with clouds and passing showers favoring windward and mauka areas. Strengthening winds, as well as increasing rain and thunderstorms associated with tropical storm Flossie, are expected to begin as early as Sunday night for the Big Island, then spread westward across the island chain Monday through Tuesday. As Flossie departs the area on Wednesday, a trade wind weather pattern will once again return to the aloha state.
Statewide, as of 11 a.m. today, todays weather will basically resemble a typical trade wind pattern as a ridge of high pressure lies north of the state. Clouds and passing showers will tend to favor windward and mauka areas with a few passing showers over select leeward areas at times.
All eyes are on tropical storm Flossie approaching the state from the east. Weather conditions will gradually deteriorate as early as tonight over the Big Island and eventually spread westward Monday into Tuesday.
The main threats of Flossie are heavy rain, potentially causing flooding and mudslides, strong and gusty winds, causing damage to buildings and vegetation, and large and dangerous surf, mainly over shorelines exposed to the east.
As Flossie moves away from the state later Tuesday and Wednesday, conditions will improve as high pressure builds in northeast of the state. Clouds and passing showers will again favor windward and mauka areas as typical summer time trade winds return. This weather pattern is expected through the end of the week.
Trade winds are sufficiently strong over the usual windy waters around Maui county and the Big Island requiring a small craft advisory for those areas. Winds and seas associated with Flossie will begin to affect the eastern waters as early as Sunday night. Conditions will gradually deteriorate from east to west Monday and Tuesday.
Very dangerous surf conditions will occur out ahead and along with the passing of Flossie. Otherwise there will be a series of small south swells today through Tuesday with a larger south swell expected on Wednesday.
Tropical storm warning for Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe, Maui, Big Island.
Flash flood watch from Monday morning through late Tuesday night for all Hawaii islands.
Tropical storm watch for Niihau, Kauai.
Tropical storm warning for Kauai channel, Oahu windward waters, Oahu leeward waters, Kaiwi Channel, Maui county windward waters, Maui county leeward waters, Maalaea Bay, Pailolo channel, Alenuihaha channel, Big Island windward waters, Big Island leeward waters, Big Island southeast waters.
Tropical storm watch for Kauai northwest waters, Kauai windward waters, Kauai leeward waters.
Small craft advisory until 6 pm HST this evening for Maalaea Bay, Pailolo channel, Alenuihaha channel, Big Island leeward waters, Big Island southeast waters.
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