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    Flossie Brings Hawaii Flooding Rain, Strong Winds

    By By Kristina Pydynowski, senior meteorologist
    July 31, 2013, 8:53:27 AM EDT

    Dangerous surf, flooding rain and gusty winds pounded much of Hawaii on Monday as Tropical Storm Flossie approached.

    Flossie has since weakened into a tropical depression over cooler waters surrounding Hawaii at 11:00 p.m. EDT Monday.

    The center of Flossie passed just north of Maui on Monday, and by Tuesday morning, the system was just north of Oahu.

    During Tuesday, Flossie will continue to move westward, away from the islands.

    Not since Hurricane Iniki from 1992 has a hurricane or tropical storm reached Hawaii. Iniki approached Hawaii rapidly from warmer southern waters and did not have time to weaken before striking Kauai.

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    High surf will continue along the shores of all the islands on Tuesday. Extremely rough conditions will then make it dangerous for residents and visitors to enter the water.

    Seas of 14 feet occurred just offshore of Hilo, Hawaii. A water level rise (above published tide values) of a couple of feet can occur on the northeastern-facing coastline of the Big Island with slightly higher water levels in some of the bays. Occasional large waves can cause overwash along the northeastern coastline of the Big Island and Maui. Some beach erosion can occur.

    Rough seas will also create hazards for small craft.

    Conditions will make touring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park treacherous. According to the park website, the park itself will remain open, but some individual parts of the park will remain closed until conditions improve and it is safe to open.


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    The strongest winds associated with Flossie howled along and north of its center, meaning gusts between 40 and 50 mph were common in places from the northern part of the Big Island to Oahu. Gusts will be closer to the lower end of that range in Honolulu.

    There exists the potential for 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. A general 2 to 4 inches of rain will soak the Big Island and Maui with the highest amounts on the windward side of these islands.

    Upwards of 6 to 8 inches 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.

    The rain will amount to around 2 inches in Honolulu. There can be up to 4 inches on the windward side of Oahu.

    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.

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