Published July 28, 2013
Dangerous surf, flooding rain and potentially damaging winds are in store for Hawaii with the arrival of Tropical Storm Flossie.
Tropical Storm Flossie is expected to pass over or in between the northern tip of the Big Island and southern Maui Island on Monday.
After undergoing some weakening, Flossie will either be a minimal tropical storm or a depression at that time.
Not since Hurricane Iniki from 1992 has a hurricane or tropical storm reached Hawaii.
The impacts of Flossie, however, will begin before the weekend comes to a close.
Surf will build along the shores of all the islands late Sunday afternoon and Sunday night. Extremely rough conditions will then make it dangerous for residents and visitors to enter the water on Monday.
The surf will also create hazards for small craft, as well as cause some incidents of coastal flooding.
Gusty wind and squally rain from Flossie will spread in an east-to-west fashion across the islands Monday through Monday night.
The strongest winds associated with Flossie are howling along and north of its center, meaning gusts between 40 and 50 mph are in store for places from the northern tip of the Big Island to Oahu. Gusts will be closer to the lower end of that range in Honolulu.
Sustained winds of those speeds are possible along the northern coasts of these islands.
Winds of 40 to 50 mph, sustained or in gusts, have the potential to cause tree damage and power outages. Loose items on structures and lawn items can easily get thrown around and become damaged.
The rain from Flossie will taper off on Tuesday, but not before threatening to cause flash flooding. The rain will amount to a general 2 to 4 inches. The best opportunity for totals of 4 inches, and even up to 6 inches, is across windward areas.
Upwards of a foot of rain is possible in the mauka, or mountainous areas, and along their slopes. Such totals cannot only easily trigger flash flooding but also mudslides.
Flossie is also expected to spark rare flashes of lightning and may spawn an isolated waterspout or tornado.
It is rare for a tropical storm or hurricane to strike Hawaii due to the cool waters that typically lie to the east.
Only two hurricanes have made landfall in Hawaii since 1950 and both arrived from the warmer waters to the south.
Hurricane Iniki from 1992 was not only the last of these two hurricanes, but also the last hurricane or tropical storm to slam Hawaii.