Tropical Storm Flossie weakened on Sunday, but continued its westward approach to Hawaii. It is expected to weaken further before bringing heavy rain to the Big Island of Hawaii.
The storm is the sixth to be named in the eastern Pacific hurricane season and triggered tropical storm warnings for Hawaii county, Oahu, and Maui county.
Flossie could produce about six to 10 inches of rainfall over Maui County, according to Maui News. The storm is expected to hit on Monday with its eye passing near the Big Island and Maui earlier, then south of Oahu at night.
While Flossie was tracking west with maximum sustained winds of 57 mph, drier air, more wind shear, and cooler water temperatures could cause the system to weaken more as it moves over Hawaii.
However, it is expected to remain a tropical storm through Wednesday. Flash flood warnings were issued for the islands from Monday until Tuesday night as upwards of 15 inches of rain was forecasted for parts of Maui and Hawaii counties, notes NBC News. The National Weather Service added:
“Rock and mudslides caused by the rainfall will be possible around or near mountain slopes. The heavy rain will also fall over urban areas in the lower elevations, which will be more susceptible to flooding problems.”
Flash floods can threaten lives and cause mudslides, especially in the mountain areas of the state. Michael Cantin of the National Weather Service added that it is “not a good time to be out toward the shores,” as coastal inundation is possible in flood prone areas.
The high surf is expected to arrive a few hours before the heavy winds. Despite it not being hurricane status, Cantin advised that Tropical Storm Flossie should be taken seriously. He added that residents should review their emergency supplies and be prepared for possible power outages. A news release from the country advised it is in “emergency preparation mode” ahead of the storm.