Tropical depression likely to miss Kauai

A tropical depression east of Hawaii is expected to weaken and skirt north of the islands this weekend, meteorologists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday.

“The system is forecasted to move along northeast of the islands through the weekend, weakening as it goes,” said Pete Donaldson, Central Pacific Hurricane Center meteorologist. “We’re not expecting much wind over the islands.”

However, Tropical Depression Ela, the first tropical cyclone of the hurricane season, which downgraded to a depression on Thursday evening, may bring muggy weather, rain and unpredictable surf. Depressions have winds under 39 mph.

“The winds will probably be lighter than usual because the westerly flow on the southwest side of the system will cancel out the easterly trade winds,” he said. “We’re looking at light winds, muggy weather over the weekend as the system passes by.”

Current forecasts have Ela passing north of Kauai on Sunday. As of Thursday, the tropical cyclone was about 800 miles east of the island.

Donaldson said a swell associated with the system is likely to bring rising surf to east-facing shores, prompting officials to issue a high surf advisory from 6 a.m. today through 6 a.m. Sunday, with 6 to 8 feet surf along all eastern shores.

“It’s probably going to be somewhat rainy; although, it’s going to be hard to predict exactly how much rain we’re going to get right now because it’s going to depend on the track the system takes,” he said.

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