Hawaii braces for Darby

LIHUE — High surf and heavy rains are a possibility on Kauai this weekend as Tropical Storm Darby nears the Big Island and Maui County. 

The Central Pacific Hurricane Center issued a tropical storm advisory at 5 p.m. on Friday for Tropical Storm Darby, which at that time was located 205 miles east of Hilo and about 520 miles east-southeast of Lihue. 

According to the Department of Land and Natural Resources, a high surf advisory went into effect for Maui and the Big Island at 6 p.m. on Thursday and will be in effect until 6 a.m. Sunday. 

Forecasters say waves could be between 12 and 20 feet, with possible bigger sets, over the weekend on the two Hawaiian Islands expected to be impacted by Darby. They are also expecting 10-15 inches of rainfall with possible flash floods and landslides. 

Parks, campgrounds, forest reserves and hiking trails have been closed on Maui and the Big Island and a DLNR news release said additional closures for Oahu and Kauai may follow over the weekend. 

“People are advised to avoid forested and coastal areas due to potential for rising streams, flash flooding, falling trees or high surf, as well as ocean water surging and sweeping across beaches and rocky coastal benches,” said DLNR spokeswoman Deborah Ward in the release. “High surf may create the potential for impacts to coastal properties and infrastructure, including roadways. Powerful longshore and rip currents will be present at most beaches.” 

DLNR’s Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation doesn’t plan to close any state small boat harbors, but it is advising boaters to stand by for port closures and other safety advisories. 

Owners of large boats are urged to move their vessels to protected marinas where they are less likely to break free of their moorings or be otherwise damaged, Ward said.

“Although weather conditions may appear favorable, rip tides and high surf often impact beaches far in advance of the actual storm,” Ward warned. “Swimmers are urged to stay clear of beaches and out of the water until local officials say the water is safe.” 

According to the National Hurricane Center, Tropical Storm Estelle is weakening and is at post-tropical depression status west of the southern tip of Baja, California.

As of Friday, two more tropical storms have been named out of the east Pacific, bringing the number up to seven tropical cyclones born since July 1. Tropical Storm Frank was moving parallel to the southern Mexico coast on Friday afternoon, about 360 miles southeast of the Southern tip of Baja, California. The storm is moving northwest at 14 mph and is expected to be named a hurricane on Sunday. 

The newest tropical cyclone to join the scene is tropical storm Georgette, which was about 895 miles of the coast of Baja, California, and was moving west-northwest at 15 mph.

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