BLOG: Tracking Tropical Depression Flossie developments

Flossie 10PM Update: Ben Gutierrez from the Big Island

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii News Now will continue to bring you the latest weather forecasts and emergency management information on our website and mobile apps.  If you have information that may be helpful to the public or images of the severe weather, please email or upload it to the Hawaii News Now Facebook page.  The most recent forecast can be found here.

UPDATE 9:45 p.m. -- Lightning strikes house on Maui; puts hole through roof

A home at Kipapa Place on Maui was reportedly struck by lightning. Kahului fire fighters responded and found no fire upon arrival. During the investigation, officials found a hole 10 inches in diameter that went through the roof and through the gable end of the back of the two-story house. The hole through the gable end was five inches in diameter.

The resident who was at home when the incident occurred reported no injuries. Damages were estimated to be approximately $1,000.00.

UPDATE 9:20 p.m. -- Maui Bus service will resume its regular schedule Tuesday

The Maui Bus service began it's final run to get riders to their destinations at 8:30 p.m. 

Bus drivers were forced to stop their routes because of the low visibility caused by the heavy rain at 6:30 p.m. After reassessing the situation drivers are continuing their routes but will stop the service tonight after this final run. Three routes have already ended for the night, including the Kahului Reverse, Wailuku Reverse and Kula routes. 

Maui Bus service will resume its regular schedule Tuesday.

UPDATE 8:22 p.m. -- Maui airport operation back to normal
Due to lightning and stormy weather Monday, several flights were delayed from Honolulu to Kahului. Back up power to airport was used for about an hour before regular power came back on line. All flights and airport operations are now back to normal.

UPDATE 8:18 p.m. -- Man struck by lightning on Maui
A 46-year-old man was taken to Maui Memorial Hospital in stable condition Monday night after he was struck, or too close to, lightning when it hit, according to Lt. Juan of the Maui Police Department.

UPDATE 7:49 p.m. -- Maui water conservation

The following statement was released by Maui County officials:

Maui County residents are being asked to conserve as much water as possible until further notice.

Widespread power outages have affected water service in Hana, Central and South Maui, along with portions of Upcountry Maui, and there is no estimated time when the power will be restored. This means that although the county prepared for this eventuality by filling our water tanks, there may be no way to refill the tanks until power is restored.

So please conserve water, especially if you live in the areas of Hana, Central, South and Upcountry Maui, until further notice.

UPDATE 7:35 p.m. -- Maui power outages
MECO says power outages have been reported across central and upcountry Maui following heavy rains and thunderstorms due to Flossie. Maui Electric has not been able to dispatch field crews to respond to these outages because extensive lightning strikes have created unsafe conditions. Crews will be dispatched as soon as they can work safely.

UPDATE 7:28 p.m. -- Big Island closes shelters

In partnership with Hawaii County, Hawaii Red Cross volunteers closed shelters this afternoon on the Big Island that were opened at 4:00 a.m. this morning in response to Flossie.

UPDATE 7:08 p.m. -- Maui flight delays
Flossie has arrived on Maui and it has delayed flight HA 219. Flight HA 194 is delayed in Honolulu until weather clears on Maui, and HA 236 from Honolulu to Maui returned to Honolulu. Passengers are being re-accommodated.

UPDATE 6:35 p.m. -- Maui Bus service shut down

The Department of Transportation announced that as of 6:30 p.m. they were shutting down the Maui Bus system due to the storm. Drivers are unable to complete their routes because of low visibility from the rain and are right now parked in place while waiting for the storm to pass.
Drivers have been told to wait for two hours then to reassess the situation. If at all possible, drivers will then take their remaining passengers to their destination.
The Maui Bus service should continue tomorrow on its regular schedule unless this weather continues.

UPDATE 6:07 p.m. -- Maui County Update
Maui County continues to monitor Tropical Depression Flossie throughout the night while road crews and other workers respond to any emergencies.

A flash flood warning remains in effect until 8:45 tonight and a high surf warning remains in effect until 6 a.m. tomorrow, July 30.

As a reminder to residents with trash pick-up tomorrow, please keep your garbage bins inside until the storm passes. There are already reports coming in of storm winds sending trash bins down the street.

Finally all Maui County employees are to report to work tomorrow as usual, although they should continue to monitor news tonight and tomorrow for any updates.

UPDATE 5:30 p.m. -- Marine Corps Base Hawaii Update
All non-essential personnel stationed on or working at Marine Corps Base Hawaii are authorized to start work at 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 30.  All essential personnel should report at their normal work time or call in if they are unable to commute safely.  

UPDATE 5:20 p.m. -- Traffic Accidents
The Honolulu Police Department reports that as many as nine separate motor vehicle collisions have occurred in the last hour.  Six of these occurred within and just outside of Wilson Tunnel.

Officers have reported that a combination of slick roads and fast driving may be contributing to the increased number of collisions.

With many City, State and other employees being released early due to Flossie, the Department of Emergency Management asks that our residents please drive safely and be aware of hazardous road conditions.

UPDATE 5 p.m. -- Maui Power Outage / Huelo to Hana
Maui Electric Company would like to inform the public that the following areas are experiencing a power outage: Huelo to Hana. MECO is working to identify the cause and restore electrical service as quickly and safely as possible.

UPDATE 5 p.m. -- Flossie Now a Tropical Depression
Flossie is now a tropical depression.  As of 5 p.m. on Monday, maximum sustained winds were measured at 35 miles per hour, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) in Honolulu.

UPDATE 3:45 p.m. -- Homeless Evacuation Shuttle
The City and TheBus will provide courtesy evacuation transportation for homeless individuals from Waianae Boat Harbor to Waianae District Park now until 6:00 p.m.

Riders may bring what they can safely carry such as personal items and/or evacuation supplies that fit in one bag. Riders will also be allowed one pet per person in a carrier (preferred) or on a leash.

This will be the only evacuation shuttle at this time. All other City Buses will be running on their regular schedule.

UPDATE 3:02 p.m. -- Coast Guard Alert
Coast Guard Captain of the Port closed the port of Kahului, Maui, to all traffic at midnight, Sunday and have re-opened the ports of Hilo and Kawaihae on the Big Island at 1 p.m., Monday.

Captain Shannon Gilreath, the Coast Guard Captain of the Port, has set Heavy Weather Condition II for these ports and is urging local mariners to review their heavy weather plans and to remain vigilant to forecasts for Tropical Storm Flossie.

"While we have not set conditions for the other ports, you should still exercise caution and prudence in conducting your operations," said Gilreath. "Know your capabilities and your constraints and adhere to them so that we can all continue to operation safely."

UPDATE 2:30 p.m. -- Trash Pick Up Notice
The Department of Environmental Service will close the following facilities at 3:00 p.m.:

  • Refuse Base Yards
  • Convenience Centers
  • Transfer Stations
  • Landfill operations

H-POWER will remain open until 6:30 pm.

Collections will deliver their last loads by 3 pm. The department is attempting to complete all routes.

Residents should refrain from setting out their garbage cans until Tuesday morning before 6 a.m. In addition, if you have placed bulky items in front of your home that are light enough to be picked up by the wind, please secure them safely back onto your property and reset out before 6 a.m. Tuesday.

UPDATE 2:10 p.m. -- Widespread Power Outage
Roger Keller with HELCO on the Big Island tells Hawaii News Now that about 5,000 customers in the lower Puna area are without power due to gusty winds and downed trees.

The outage includes the Volcano area, Glenwood, Kalapana, Nanawale Estate and Panaewa.

Crews are on scene working as quickly as they can to restore power, but HELCO officials say the safety of their employees and customers is their top priority.  Power will be restored as soon as possible without jeopardizing the safety of employees.

UPDATE 1:40 p.m. -- Chaminade to Close Early
Chaminade University has announced that its campus will be closed as of 2 p.m.  All events and campus evening classes on or off campus are cancelled. The University is scheduled to open as usual on Tuesday.

UPDATE 1:36 p.m. -- Water Conservation Requested
The Board of Water Supply (BWS) is asking all residents to conserve water beginning now due to the anticipated arrival of Tropical Storm Flossie.  The BWS needs to fill its reservoirs and therefore needs residents to keep water use to an absolute minimum.

Residents are asked to use water from the tap for essential uses only - drinking, cooking and sanitation purposes - and to postpone water use for other needs until further notice.

UPDATE 1:21 p.m. -- Early Work Release
Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced all department directors have been delegated the authority to determine whether to release employees from work due to the effects of Tropical Storm Flossie.

"Given the uncertainty about the effects of the storm and the diverse nature of departmental operations at each location, our directors are in the best position to make this decision," Gov. Abercrombie said. "Each department will assess then determine the employees who can be released and, if so, when the release is appropriate."

UPDATE 1 p.m. -- Campsites Evacuated
Haleakala National Park is now completely off-limits to visitors. About 30 campers and hikers in the Kipahulu area were asked to leave this morning. People heading up to the summit and those camping at the crater are being evacuated now ahead of Flossie's landfall.

UPDATE 12:55 p.m. -- Residents Reporting Storm Effects
Hilo-area residents are reporting strong winds, toppled trees and occasional power outages.

At 11:53 a.m., the National Weather Service recorded a 32 mph gust at Hilo International Airport.

Click here to see residents describe the effects of Flossie as it approaches.

Watch LIVE camera from Hilo Bay.

UPDATE 12:30 p.m. -- City Buses
Mayor Kirk Caldwell says city buses on Oahu will continue operating on a regular weekday schedule.

UPDATE 12:27 p.m. --  HPU Closing
Hawai'i Pacific University announced this afternoon that in anticipation of Tropical Storm Flossie's projected pass over O'ahu this evening it will close all campuses at 2 p.m. today.

That includes the university's Downtown and Hawaii Loa campuses and all military base locations.

UPDATE 12:10 p.m. -- Road Closed in Pahoa
Road Closure Route 132 between Nanawale and Lava Tree park due to down trees and power lines. Recommend using Leilani Ave to bypass.

UPDATE 12:05 p.m. -- Honolulu County Impacts
All City offices will shut down at 3 p.m., Mayor Kirk Caldwell has announced.  They will remain closed until he declares the emergency is over after conferring with emergency officials.

Non-emergency city and county employees will be sent home at 3 p.m.

UPDATE 11:23 a.m. -- Haleakala Closure
Haleakala National Park on Maui will be closed until Wednesday at 11:59 p.m. due to storm conditions caused by Tropical Storm Flossie.

UPDATE 11 a.m. -- Mild Earthquake
Here's a curveball from Mother Nature:  The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center confirms a magnitude 3.5 earthquake occurred at 10:30 a.m. Monday off Windward Oahu.  There is NO tsunami threat, according the PTWC.  Read more on the earthquake here.

UPDATE 10:29 a.m. -- Oahu Shelters to Open
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has announced ten emergency shelters will open on Oahu at 3 p.m. Monday.  The list of shelters is here.

The mayor has also asked that all other Oahu residents shelter in place starting early this evening. He urges commuters to stay off the roads as the storm draws nearer.

UPDATE 10:10 a.m. -- Trails & Parks Closed
Due to the expected impacts of Tropical Storm Flossie, the Department of Land and Natural Resources' is closing several trails, parks, and campground areas effective immediately.  The complete list is here

UPDATE 9:37 a.m. -- Tourism Authority Releases New Statement
The Hawaii Tourism Authority has issued a new statement due to the statewide tropical storm warning now in effect.

We ask that visitors and residents adhere to all warnings and alerts issued by the National Weather Service, Civil Defense and the counties. 

Airlines have begun cancelling flights, so we continue to ask visitors to contact their airlines and hotels directly to confirm their travel plans. All of the airports remain open.

-- Mike McCartney, president & CEO of Hawai'i Tourism Authority

UPDATE 9:11 a.m. -- Red Cross Preparing
The American Red Cross, Hawaii State Chapter has notified Hawaii News Now that they are loading supplies at their facility in Diamond Head with plans to deploy to shelters on Oahu this afternoon.  Preparation includes:

  • Shelters - we have been calling down hundreds of volunteers to work 12 hour shifts at about 24 shelters statewide.  So far we have opened 9 shelters on the Big Island and 9 shelters on Maui.  Preparing to open at least 9 shelters on Oahu later today. Everyone should bring their own supplies, including food and bedding.
  • EOCs - Red Cross is participating in the County Emergency Operation Centers and recruiting volunteers to conduct damage assessment and casework after the storm passes.

UPDATE 9:04 a.m. -- FEMA Monitoring
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), through its Pacific Area office in Honolulu, continues to monitor the conditions of Tropical Storm Flossie and remains in close coordination with Hawaiian officials. FEMA's National Watch Center, in Washington, D.C., has been elevated to an enhanced watch. Although there have been no requests for federal disaster assistance at this time, FEMA has personnel on the ground who are positioned in the Pacific Area Office year round. An Incident Management Assistance Team has also been deployed to Hawaii to coordinate with state and local officials, should support be requested, or needed.

"Tropical storms can bring dangerous surf, damaging winds and both coastal and inland flooding," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "Stay away from flood waters, never drive through flooded roadways and follow the direction of state and local officials."

UPDATE 8:56 a.m. -- Hilo Buoy Still Rising
The National Weather Service is now reporting the Hilo buoy reading at 14 feet -- up three feet in only one hour.

UPDATE 7:30 a.m. -- Hilo Buoy
National Weather Service is repoting that the Hilo buoy reading jumped 5 feet in the last 5 hours ahead of Flossie. Current reading is 11ft.

UPDATE 6:40 a.m. -- Maui Shelters to Open
Maui County has released a list of shelters available for residents and visitors, including several pet-friendly shelters. To view that list, click here. 

UPDATE 5:00 a.m. -- Latest Forecast
The path of Tropical Storm Flossie has shifted slightly north, and the latest model now tracks the storm over Maui and Oahu. Click here for the latest forecast. 

UPDATE 4:00 a.m. -- Flight Information
Multiple airlines have announced cancellations or rescheduling of Hawaii-bound flights in light of the impending effects of Tropical Storm Flossie. Click here for more on flight cancellations. 

UPDATE 2:30 a.m. on Monday -- Phone Charging
As Tropical Storm Flossie nears, we'd like to remind our viewers to keep their cell phones fully charged, if and when possible. In the event that power goes out, Hawaii News Now will provide constant updates on our mobile applications and on Facebook and Twitter.

We'll make sure to post the most important updates at the top and bottom of every hour, so that viewers can turn their phones off to conserve battery in between.

UPDATE 10:12 p.m. -- UH Maui College Closure

Due to heavy rain, wind and flooding that may arrive with Tropical Storm Flossie, the University of Hawaii Maui College (UHMC) and all Outreach Centers (Molokai Education Center, Lahaina Education Center, Hana Education Center and Lanai Education Center) will be closed on Monday, July 29.  Essential personnel may be notified by supervisors if they should report to work.

UPDATE 10:04 p.m. -- YWCA Closure 
YWCA of Hawaii Island facilities and offices will be closed Monday, July 29, due to concerns over Tropical Storm Flossie.

UPDATE 9:35 p.m. -- No Bus Service for Big Island
Billy Kenoi, Hawaii Island Mayor, has announced the Hele-On bus service will stop running at midnight.

In addition, the mayor issued the following statement on his official Facebook page:

All employers are encouraged to limit operations to essential employees and emergency operations only. In the interest of safety the following facilities will be closed tomorrow, Monday July 29th: All solid waste transfer stations and the Hilo and Puuanahulu landfill; all County Parks and Beach Parks; all State Beach Parks. In addition, non-essential county business to include public meetings and County Council hearings scheduled for Monday and Tuesday are cancelled.

UPDATE 9:10 p.m. -- UH & Court Closures 
The University of Hawaii has announced that all campuses on Hawaii Island (UH Hilo, Hawaii Community College, UH West Hawaii) as well as UH Maui College will be closed Monday in advance of Tropical Storm Flossie.

Big Island state courthouses will also be closed.  Court hearings scheduled for Monday will be rescheduled to a later date. The Supreme Court will issue an order extending by one day, any Big Island court matter with a filing or hearing due date of July 29.

All Big Island courthouses will reopen on Tuesday morning.

Courthouses in Oahu, Maui, and Kauai counties will be open on Monday as scheduled.

UPDATE 8:44 p.m. -- Airports
As of Sunday evening, the state Department of Transportation plans to keep all Hawaii airports open.  Decisions to cancel flights will be up to each individual air carrier.

DOT officials say their crews have been preparing for the storm for several days, and will provide updates if there are any major changes.

UPDATE 8:20 p.m. -- Big Island Shelters to Open
The Hawaii County Civil Defense has decided to open several evacuation shelters at 4:00 a.m. Monday.  The complete list is here.

Officials with the Hawaii County Civil Defense have also asked all non-essential employees to remain home on Monday.

UPDATE 6:00 p.m. -- Gov. Abercrombie Signs Emergency Proclamation 
Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed an Emergency Proclamation in preparation of Tropical Storm Flossie Sunday. The proclamation provides certain authorities that will allow the state to more effectively prepare for the arrival of TS Flossie, expected to make landfall Monday morning on the eastern end of Hawaii Island.

Read more here.

UPDATE 5:38 p.m. -- Maui School Closure 

Kihei Charter School will not be open Monday. It was supposed to be the first day of the school year for them, but they will not be in session due to the storm. For a complete list of current school closures, click here.

UPDATE 5:22 p.m. -- Molokai School Closures
All God's Children Preschool in Ho'olehua on Molokai has canceled school until further notice. Kualapu'u Public Conversion Charter School will also be closed on Monday due to Tropical Storm Flossie. For a complete list of current school closures, click here.

UPDATE 5:08 p.m. -- West Jet Cancels Flight from Honolulu
West Jet flight 1864 and 1865 from Honolulu to Vancouver has been canceled. The flight was scheduled to leave Honolulu Sunday at 11 p.m. Honolulu International Airport will remain open, but it's up to the individual airlines to cancel or not.

UPDATE 5:05 p.m. -- Hilo School Closure
We have just received word that Connections Charter School in Hilo will be closed Monday. For a complete list of current school closures, click here.

UPDATE 4:55 p.m. -- Sen. Schatz Releases Statement

"Today, I joined a briefing on Tropical Storm Flossie, and my staff has been in contact with Maui officials, Hawaii County officials and the state adjutant general to discuss  steps state and county officials are taking to ensure that residents and visitors are safe, and also to ensure officials have the needed support to effectively respond. The public should remain prepared and follow instructions from local officials. I will continue to monitor the storm and stand ready to assist."

UPDATE 4:15 p.m. -- Maui County Updates

Maui County officials are asking that residents conserve water Monday as Tropical Storm Flossie continues to approach.

Those camping at county beach parks are being evacuated Sunday and camping will be prohibited at all beach parks until further notice. The Maui Bus system will also be operating on its regular schedule Monday.

For the detailed updates, click here.

UPDATE 3:05 p.m. -- Hawaii Tourism Authority Releases Statement
Due to Hawaii Island being under a tropical storm warning, Mike McCartney, president and CEO Hawaii Tourism Authority is asking that all visitors and residents adhere to all warnings and alerts issued by the National Weather Service, Civil Defense and the counties.

Some airlines have begun announcing light adjustments. Visitors should contact their airlines and hotels to confirm their travel plans.

UPDATE 1:10 p.m. -- Storm Tips for Pet Owners
The Hawaiian Humane Society has issued safety awareness tips for pet owners as Tropical Storm Flossie continues to approach Hawaii.

To view the full list, click here.

UPDATE 1:05 p.m. -- Social Media Developments on Storify
As Tropical Storm Flossie approaches, Hawaii News Now will track your comments, questions, photos and more on social media using our Storify account. Leave comments and questions on our Facebook posts, and tag any uploads to Twitter and Instagram using the #Flossie hashtag so that we can add your posts to our website.

To view our Storify on Tropical Storm #Flossie, click here.

UPDATE 11:52 a.m. -- Make Emergency Plans Now
The Department of Emergency Management is urging residents to take actions for protection of life and property immediately.  Evacuations may be ordered depending on the severity of Tropical Storm Flossie.

Click here for the full list of emergency recommendations.

UPDATE 11:00 a.m. -- Oahu Under Tropical Storm Warning
A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for the island of Oahu, upgrading a previous Tropical Storm Watch that was issued on Saturday. Oahu now joins Hawaii and Maui as counties under the tropical storm warning.

UPDATE 9:45 a.m. -- Maui County Announces Flossie Closures
Maui County officials have initiated several emergency protocols ahead of Tropical Storm Flossie, announcing closures of all county facilities for Monday, including all county parks and offices.

All DMV and driver's licensing offices will be closed on Monday, as will all satellite City Hall offices. Automated trash pick-up will operate as usual.

Please note that Maui Civil Defense sirens will NOT be sounding for this storm event, as sirens are only used for tsunami and hurricanes.

UPDATE 9:30 a.m. -- FEMA Issues Emergency Tips
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has issued a release detailing tips for Hawaii residents as visitors as Tropical Storm Flossie nears Hawaii.

"Residents and visitors to the Hawaiian Islands should closely monitor the storm and take steps now to be prepared," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "Stay away from flood waters, never drive through flooded roadways and follow the direction of emergency officials."

To read the full list, click here. 

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