Tropical Storm Olivia approaching Big Island, Maui County

  • Five-day forecast track issued for Tropical Storm Olivia at 5 p.m. Tuesday. (CPHC/Special to West Hawaii Today)

KAILUA-KONA — Tropical Storm Olivia continues to weaken as it approaches Hawaii Island and Maui County, forecasters said early Tuesday evening.

The storm was packing 50 mph winds as it tracked west at 15 mph some 100 miles northeast of Hilo as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, forecasters with the Honolulu-based Central Pacific Hurricane Center said. Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles from the center of the storm.

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Forecasters expect the storm’s forward speed to slow down as the center moves over the Big Island and Maui. It’s expected to stay on a west to west-southwest track. After Olivia moves past the islands, a somewhat faster west-southwest motion is expected to resume and continue for the next couple of days.

Though additional weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours, Olivia is expected to remain a tropical storm as it passes over the main Hawaiian Islands, forecasters said.

Forecasters said tropical storm conditions are expected over portions of Maui County and the Big Island starting Tuesday evening. Preliminary storm total rainfall amounts are in the 5- to 10-inch range, with isolated areas receiving up to 15 inches.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for the entire state. The warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.

Also in effect is a flash flood watch that will remain posted through late Thursday. A high surf warning is also in effect for east-facing shores of the Hawaiian Islands through 6 p.m. Wednesday. Surf is expected to build 12 to 20 feet Tuesday night into Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Gov. David Ige asked President Donald Trump to declare an emergency for the state.

Ige said Tuesday the storm has the potential to cause widespread and catastrophic flooding and wind damage. He says it could trigger widespread power outages, the Associated Press reported.

Ige is seeking help from military aircraft to fly people between islands if that becomes necessary. He’s also asking for help with potential medical evacuations and emergency power generation.

On Monday, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources announced the closure at noon Tuesday of all Division of Forestry and Wildlife lands on the Big Island and in Maui County. Those lands include all forest reserves, natural area reserves, game management areas, wildlife sanctuaries, public hunting areas and Na Ala Hele trails.

The closures remain in effect until further notice pending impact assessments.

The department also said Monday it would close all state parks in East Hawaii at noon Tuesday and the closure of west-side parks would be evaluated as the storm approaches. However, Tuesday morning officials said all Hawaii Island state parks would remain open based on the storm’s current track.

All state small boat harbors, operated by the DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, will remain open during the storm.

All state Department of Education schools are open on Hawaii Island, Civil Defense said Tuesday morning.

All county parks are also open.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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KAILUA-KONA — Tropical Storm Olivia continues to weaken as the former hurricane closes in on the Hawaiian Islands.

The storm was packing 55 mph winds as it tracked west-southwest at 21 mph some 135 miles northeast of Hilo as of 2 p.m. Tuesday, forecasters with the Honolulu-based Central Pacific Hurricane Center said. Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles from the center of the storm.

Though additional weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours, Olivia is expected to remain a tropical storm as it passes over the main Hawaiian Islands Tuesday night and Wednesday, forecasters said.

Forecasters said that residents could begin to see increasing winds and showers this afternoon. The chance for flooding rainfall will increase rapidly late Tuesday and will remain a significant threat through at least Thursday. Preliminary storm total rainfall amounts are in the 10- to 15-inch range, with isolated areas receiving up to 20 inches.

“Maui and parts of the Big Island will be the first to experience impacts from Olivia tonight, with impacts then spreading westward to the rest of Maui County and Oahu late tonight into Wednesday,” forecasters said at 11 a.m. Tuesday. “Do not focus on the exact forecast track or intensity of the storm, and be prepared for changes in future forecasts. Also, keep in mind that although Olivia is forecast to be a weaker storm near the islands than (Hurricane) Lane, the impacts of Olivia could be significantly worse for some areas due to its passage directly over the islands.”

A tropical storm warning is in effect for the entire state. The warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.

A high surf warning is also in effect for east-facing shores of the Hawaiian Islands through 6 p.m. Wednesday. Wave heights of 10 to 14 feet are forecast Tuesday. Surf is expected to build 12 to 20 feet Tuesday night into Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Gov. David Ige is asking President Donald Trump to declare an emergency for the state as Tropical Storm Olivia approaches.

Ige said Tuesday the storm has the potential to cause widespread and catastrophic flooding and wind damage. He says it could trigger widespread power outages, the Associated Press reported.

Ige is seeking help from military aircraft to fly people between islands if that becomes necessary. He’s also asking for help with potential medical evacuations and emergency power generation.

On Monday, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources announced the closure at noon Tuesday of all Division of Forestry and Wildlife lands on the Big Island and in Maui County. Those lands include all forest reserves, natural area reserves, game management areas, wildlife sanctuaries, public hunting areas and Na Ala Hele trails.

The closures remain in effect until further notice pending impact assessments.

The department also said Monday it would close all state parks in East Hawaii at noon Tuesday and the closure of west-side parks would be evaluated as the storm approaches. However, Tuesday morning officials said all Hawaii Island state parks would remain open based on the storm’s current track.

All state small boat harbors, operated by the DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, will remain open during the storm.

All state Department of Education schools are open on Hawaii Island, Civil Defense said Tuesday morning.

All county parks are also open.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

KAILUA-KONA — Big Islanders could begin to feel the effects of Tropical Storm Olivia as early as this evening, forecasters with the Central Pacific Hurricane Center said Tuesday morning.

As of 8 a.m. Tuesday, Olivia was circulating 65 mph winds as it tracked west at 10 mph some 240 miles east-northeast of Hilo, according to forecasters with the Honolulu-based Central Pacific Hurricane Center.

A tropical storm warning remains in effect for Hawaii and Maui counties. The warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.

A high surf warning is also in effect for east-facing shores of the Hawaiian Islands through 6 p.m. Wednesday. Wave heights of 10 to 14 feet are forecast Tuesday. Surf is expected to build 12 to 20 feet Tuesday night into Wednesday.

The storm’s expected to continue tracking west to west-southwest and gradually weaken over the next few days. On the current forecast track, the center of Olivia will be moving over the state as a tropical storm tonight into Wednesday.

Damaging tropical storm-force winds may begin as early as this evening across Maui and the Big Island.

“Do not focus on the exact forecast track or intensity of the storm, and be prepared for changes in future forecasts. Also, keep in mind that although Olivia is forecast to be a weaker storm near the islands than Lane, the impacts of Olivia could be significantly worse for some areas due to its passage directly over the islands,” forecasters said Tuesday.

The chance for flooding rainfall will increase rapidly late Tuesday and will remain a significant threat through at least Thursday. Preliminary storm total rainfall amounts are in the 10- to 15-inch range, with isolated areas receiving up to 20 inches. Windward areas are forecast to see the most rainfall.

On Monday, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources announced the closure at noon Tuesday of all Division of Forestry and Wildlife lands on the Big Island and in Maui County. Those lands include all forest reserves, natural area reserves, game management areas, wildlife sanctuaries, public hunting areas and Na Ala Hele trails.

The closures remain in effect until further notice pending impact assessments.

The department also said Monday it would close all state parks in East Hawaii at noon Tuesday and the closure of west-side parks would be evaluated as the storm approaches. However, Tuesday morning officials said all Hawaii Island state parks would remain open based on the storm’s current track.

All state small boat harbors, operated by the DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, will remain open during the storm.

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All state Department of Education schools are open on Hawaii Island, Civil Defense said Tuesday morning.

All county parks are also open.