Tropical Storm Conditions Expected for Hawaii Island Tuesday

Wes Browning
Wes Browning

(KHNL) - Hurricane Flossie update from meteorologists Sharie Shima, Paul Drewes and Wes Browning at the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.

Sharie Shima: Satellite imagery shows that Hurricane Flossie had a well-defined eye at around 4:00 PM Monday afternoon but after that you see the eye starting to fill. That is a good sign; it's a sign of weakening. But the negative side is as these storm systems weaken, they start to stretch out a bit and become larger. Basically a bigger mass of moisture is what we'll have to deal with. So even though the category of the storm will start to weaken, we'll still see anywhere from 5-10 inches of rain as the system works its way south of the island of Hawaii.

The forward motion of this system has also increased a bit, now it looks like 11:00 AM Tuesday morning will be the time that the center of the storm will pass south of the island of Hawaii. We'll see the effects as early as Tuesday morning.

Monday evening the system was undergoing some upper-level wind shear. Upper level systems are working to pull the system apart and weaken it, that's what we like because it will also help to reduce those strong winds that we are looking at.

Paul Drewes (reporting from the Central Pacific Hurricane Center): Forecasters are keeping a very close eye on Flossie. Hurricane hunters flying through Flossie have some good news. Joining us is Wes Browning. Wes, what did the hurricane hunters find out on their latest flight?

Wes Browning: Paul on their last flight which was at around 7-8 PM Monday night, they did find that the pressure had increased substantially, which is good news. Pressure was at about 970 millibars, that means the winds will eventually start to subside as that pressure continues to come up.

PD: We are talking about the storm weakening as it gets closer to Hawaii island. One of the things you mentioned is that it is actually good if we see the top of the storm moving to the north. Why is that?

WB: Exactly. As Sharie was saying, we have wind shear coming over the storm. As you can see early in the satellite loop a distinct eye, but now as the high clouds are being blown off to the north, the eye is barely visible. The high clouds are being blown off by southerly wind shear; it is kind of decapitating the storm and weakening it.

I do want to stress that we are still expecting tropical storm force conditions to overspread especially the southern half of the Big Island. Very large surf, up to 20 feet; and very heavy rain - up to 10 inches.

PD: And what is the timing of that - for the folks on the Big Island of Hawaii - when can they expect the wind, the rain and the surf?

WB: The winds are already gusting over 40 miles-per-hour at South Point. Topography is enhancing those winds, we expect that to continue through the night and into the day on Tuesday. About midday Tuesday is when we expect closest approach to South Point.