Jimena Weakens to Tropical Storm, but Still Brings Rain, Surf to Hawaii

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Hurricane Jimena weakened and was downgraded to a tropical storm Monday, missing the Hawaiian Islands but still causing high surf and heavy rain.

The Central Pacific Hurricane Center (search) lifted the hurricane watch for Hawaii, the state's biggest and southernmost island.

Still, high surf and a threat of heavy rain put a damper on Labor Day beach plans for residents and tourists along eastern and southern shores of Hawaii, also known as the Big Island (search).

Beaches remained closed Monday because of rough waves and rip currents. Surf was running 8 to 12 feet high, with 15-foot waves still possible.

Scattered power outages affected a few thousand people, with the largest blacking out 1,300 customers in the rural Volcano and Glenwood communities.

"Given the conditions and what we could've had, it's not too bad," Hawaii Electric Light Co. spokesman Jay Ignacio said.

At 4 p.m. EDT, the National Weather Service (search) estimated the storm was centered about 225 miles south-southwest of the island's main city of Hilo (search), or 155 miles south-southwest of the island's South Point, the southernmost point in the United States.

Maximum sustained wind had slowed to 60 mph, 14 mph less than hurricane strength, down from 80 mph early in the morning. The storm was moving west-southwest at 17 mph.

Four to 6 inches of rain was possible along the coast, with a chance of up to a foot in some areas, meteorologists said.

However, because the storm moved rapidly, rainfall was not concentrated in any one spot, said hurricane center director Jim Weyman.

Hawaii County Civil Defense said the storm caused no major disruptions.

"It's definitely not as bad as I expected it would be," police Maj. Elroy Osorio said.

The last hurricane to hit Hawaii was Iniki, which devastated Kauai on Sept. 11, 1992.