‘Darby’ bears down on Big Island

LIHUE — Tropical Storm Darby is on the horizon and weather experts are asking everyone in Hawaii to stay tuned.

“The situation will change, I guarantee it,” said Kevin Kodama, hydrologist with the National Weather Service on Thursday afternoon. “The situation is fluid right now, but as far as Kauai impacts, it’ll be more of a late-Sunday or Monday time frame based on the current forecast.”

As of 11 a.m. Thursday, Darby was about 560 miles east of Hilo and was moving west at 14 mph. Its maximu sustained winds are near 65 mph.

The National Weather Service issued a tropical storm watch for Big Island and Maui County Thursday morning.

“Based on the current forecast, it could begin to impact the east end of the island chain — so the Big Island and Maui County — in a couple of days,” Kodama said. “It could just as easily pass south of the Big Island and then turn northwest, or turn earlier and miss the islands.”

Darby isn’t the only tropical storm in the Pacific. It’s followed by Tropical Storm Estelle, Tropical Storm Frank, and a tropical depression that’s forming off the coast of Mexico. Should that new tropical depression evolve into a full-fledged tropical storm, it will be named Georgette.

“The main picture right now is Darby,” Kodama said. “Frank, especially, is so far east that it’s near Mexico. Everybody should have their eye on the eight ball, and that’s Darby.”

He said the effects on Kauai “remain to be seen,” but it’s tracking up to the northwest as a tropical storm and is forecasted to pass northeast of Kauai.

“The main message right now is preparation, especially for the east half of the state, but it’s not too early for Kauai to prepare,” Kodama said. “Determine what you need and make a plan.”

He suggested filling prescriptions, topping off the gas tank, stacking plywood in places that’s easily accessible for boarding up windows, and developing a stockpile of water and canned goods.

“Get some cash, too, because if you get a direct hit, ATMs will go out and credit cards won’t work,” Kodama said. “Stay tuned into the situation, we’ll be updating the forecast every six hours and doing interviews with the network news.”

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