A brush with Flossie?


Tropical Storm Flossie is expected to weaken before it reaches Hawaii Island next week, but flooding, power outages and high surf remain possible.

As of Friday, the storm had winds peaking at 60 mph as it approached about 1,200 miles to the east.

It is expected to reach, or at least pass by, the island Monday afternoon or early Tuesday.

By then, maximum wind speeds are expected to drop to between 35 and 40 mph.

Tom Birchard, a senior forecaster with the National Weather Service, said it will likely turn into a tropical depression as it reaches or passes the island.

Forecasters are giving it a 44 percent chance of having storm strength by Monday. That possibility will drop to 33 percent Tuesday.

“It could be enough to knock out power with localized wind damage, in the worst-case scenario,” Birchard said.

Heavy rain, thunderstorms and flash flooding are possible Monday and Tuesday, according to the weather service.

Hawaii County Civil Defense is tracking the storm and preparing for potential flooding, said administrator Darryl Oliveira.

Even with it expected to weaken, he said he is concerned it could hit warmer water as it nears and regain some strength.

“I think we are all just waiting to see,” he said.

“As it gets closer, the accuracy of the modeling gets better.”

Lifeguards and emergency responders in low-lying and coastal communities will be reporting high surf and flooding, Oliveira said.

He also will be providing updates through radio and other media as the storm nears. Isle residents should prepare ahead of time for power outages and flooding, Oliveira added.

The Coast Guard also advises residents to stay clear of beaches and secure their boats.

“Even the best swimmers can fall victim to the strong waves and rip currents caused by storms,” the Coast Guard said.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.