Kauai on tropical storm watch

Flossie headed for Maui, Big Island

LIHUE — State officials are urging residents across the state to be on alert and take immediate storm percautions as Tropical Storm Flossie takes a direct aim at Maui and the Big Island.

“I think it is somewhat unprecedented for a storm to aim and make a direct landfall on the Big Island,” Michael Cantin, a weather coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Honolulu, said on Sunday.

Tropical Storm Flossie, according to the National Weather Service projections on Sunday, was about 615 miles east of Honolulu and moving to the west at 20 miles per hour.

It is expected to make landfall on the Big Island today at about 8 a.m. and move to the southwest of Kauai or Oahu by midnight.

The storm, at that time, had maximum sustained winds near 60 miles per hour, but Kauai County itself could experience gusts ranging from 25 to 45 miles an hour as it passes to the south of the island.

A tropical storm watch for Kauai County and a tropical storm warning for the remaining counties — Hawaii, Maui and Oahu Counties — remained in effect as of late Sunday afternoon.

The tropical storm watch for Kauai County means that the island may experience tropical storm conditions within the next 48 hours, Cantin said.

A flash flood watch is in effect for all of the Hawaiian Islands will until 6 a.m. Tuesday, according to a National Weather Service statement issued at noon Sunday.

“At this time it is too early to determine which island is at most risk from Flossie,” the statement read.

Anticipated impacts from the storm, Cantin said, include heavy rain, thunderstorms, dangerous surf conditions, damaging winds and possible flash flooding for all islands.

Pounding surf from the storm, especially along east facing shores, where wave heights could be between 15 to 20 feet, could cause coastal road closures even before the storm arrives.

“Right now, we are expecting Flossie to retain its tropical storm strength throughout its duration of passing through the state and to the south of us,” Cantin said.

“We don’t expect it to become less of a tropical storm until it’s to the west of the state.”

Kauai Island Utility Cooperative spokesman Jim Kelly said cooperative officials have been monitoring the progress of the storm and may take additional measures over the next few days depending on the storm’s track.