Big Island under storm watch

LIHUE — Tropical storm warnings went into effect for waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands on Friday as Tropical Storm Niala approaches.

A tropical storm and flood watch has been issued for Hawaii County for Niala which was 415 miles southeast of Hilo and 725 miles southeast of Lihue Friday.

A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible around the Big Island within 48 hours.

Maui is expected to see some heavy rainfall late into the weekend, and the rest of the state will likely experience breezy to gusty trade winds, said Anna Koethe of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency. These wind speed increases will generate elevated surf levels on east and southeast shores on all islands.

People on the other islands are encouraged to monitor the progress of Niala as it continues moving on a northwest course at 7 mph with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph and higher gusts.

There is a 20 percent chance that the Big Island will experience tropical storm force winds.

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