Hurricane Flossie threatens Big Island of Hawaii with winds, rain

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Hurricane Flossie, a Category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, is expected to pass close enough to the Big Island of Hawaii on Tuesday to cause damaging winds, torrential rain, and high surf.

As of 8:00 p.m. HST Monday (0600 Tuesday UTC), the U.S. National Weather Service has issued a tropical storm warning, hurricane watch, and flash flood watch for the island of Hawaii. The center of Hurricane Flossie was located near 16.2N, 152.5W, about 295 miles southeast of Hilo and 500 miles southeast of Honolulu, moving west-northwest at 15 mph. Maximum sustained winds were near 120 mph (200 km/h) with higher gusts, and the minimum central pressure was measured at 957 mb (28.26 inches).

Residents of the Big Island can expect to encounter tropical storm force winds of 40-50 mph (64-80 km/h) mid-morning Hawaii time on Tuesday. Surf along the southeast shore of Hawaii island is expected to rise from 6-8 feet Monday to 15-20 feet Tuesday local time.

At this time, no warnings have been issued for the other islands in the chain as Flossie is expected to pass the Big Island to the south; however, the National Weather Service notes that any shift of the forecast track to the north may result in hurricane force winds and the possibility of watches and warnings for other islands.