As Kilo’s destination remains unclear, some take to prayer

LIHUE — Representatives from several churches and prayer groups asked that Kauai receive the benefits of a storm, but be spared from the destructive forces of Kilo which lingered southeast of Kauai Saturday.

The groups included the Aloha Church, Thy Word Ministries, the Kauai Isle Ministries, and a prayer group from Honolulu, The Watchmen of the Gate, with Susan Uejo, whose family has roots in Kalaheo.

Tropical Depression Kilo remained in a weakened state as of 5 p.m. Saturday but is expected to gradually strengthen and could pass into a hurricane this week, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center. State and county officials continue to monitor the storm’s track and the public is urged to be prepared and stay informed.

“While the strength and size of Kilo is still uncertain, the track of the system has remained generally consistent,” Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho Jr. said. “We are preparing for some degree of severe weather in the coming week and we are urging our residents and visitors to stay informed and get their emergency preparedness kits ready.”

The Saturday evening weather forecast showed a slight delay in the timing of the storm’s impact on Kauai. However, a band of moisture around the system could result in periods of heavy rainfall and possible flash flooding in the coming days, a Kauai County press release stated.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Honolulu has issued a flash flood watch for the island of Kauai and Niihau through 6 p.m. Monday. A very moist air mass to the northeast of Kilo is spreading across the main Hawaiian Islands. This tropical moisture interacting with island terrain will product localized intense and slow moving downpours that may lead to flash flooding.

“The National Weather Service has placed Kauai County in a flash flood watch as the band of moisture around Kilo is expected to bring heavy downpours that could result in flash flooding. The public is advised to heed the weather advisories and stay out of flood-prone and low- lying areas until further notice,” said Civil Defense Manager Elton Ushio.

Kilo continues to be a messy system with vigorous convection but a difficult-to-locate low level center, according to the NWS.The depression is over warm sea surface temperatures and in a relatively weak shear environment near an upper level ridge axis. This general environment is not expected to change much over the next several days, so strengthening appears likely, according to the NWS.

Although the potential for rough surf will remain this week, uncertainties over Kilo’s track and intensity were too high to provide details, the NWS said.

As of 5 p.m. Saturday, Kilo was moving 15 mph west- northwest to the south of Hawaii and was located about 475 miles south of Kauai, and had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph.

The CPHC said Kilo could become a tropical storm today and a hurricane by Tuesday. It is supposed to take a northward turn, and the timing of the turn will determine how much of a threat it is to Kauai and Oahu, according to forecasters.

“There is considerable uncertainty as to where this system will make its turn toward the north, so people in Hawaii should continue to pay attention to the forecast and be ready for any changes over the next few days,” Robert Ballard of the NWS and the CPHC told Hawaii News Now.

The county has not yet opened emergency shelters, said county spokeswoman Sarah Blane.

“Generally, shelters are located at school or neighborhood centers located outside of flood zones. But please note that shelters only open on an as-needed basis, so the list is fluid. Not all shelters will be open at the same time,” Blane wrote in an email. “At this time there are no open shelters, but we are in close communication with American Red Cross and stand at the ready to open shelters if and when they are needed. We will notify the public through local media and Facebook when that occurs.”

For a list of items to include in a family emergency kit and other emergency preparedness tips, visit the Civil Defense website at www.kauai.gov/civildefense.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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