Sunday, August 9, 2009

Felicia's path nudged north, it'll be wet and windy

Hurricane Felicia--now Tropical Storm Felicia--continues to weaken, but its predicted path has adjusted northward, so that it could impact all the Hawaiian Islands.

As of Sunday morning, it was forecast to approach the Big Island Monday afternoon as a tropical storm, but the National Weather Service calculates the strongest possibilities are that wind strength will have dropped below 39 miles an hour by the time it gets to land.

(Image: The predicted Hurricane Felicia track, as of very early Sunday morning. Credit: NOAA.)

It remains possible that powerful and damaging winds will accompany the passage over the Islands, however.

The entire state is under a tropical storm warning, and the eastern islands under flood and small craft advisories. See here.

That's the caution for Hawai'i residents. Possible high winds argue for putting away anything likely to fly and become a dangerous missile, for pruning limbs away from eaves, for taking down tarp tents and so forth. Once homes are buttoned down, it's time to prepare for disruptions in public services—water, power, and communications.

Every home ought to be equipped with an emergency kit that will carry residents for several days without outside help—food, water, medications, flashlight, portable radio and so forth. Check the front pages of the phone book for details on hurricane preparedness.

Earlier estimates took the center of Felicia over the Big Island and then had it angling south, away from the other islands. But the latest calculations take it on a more northerly path, bringing the center across Maui instead of the Big Island, and keeping the entire state within the cone of possible paths.

In terms of planning, that means every resident of every island should be preparing for strong winds, and perhaps more importantly, the possibility of severe rain—and flooding.

It's important to keep in mind that the location of the center is just a guide. This is a big storm, and its strong winds and thunderstorms extend dozens of miles out from the center. Thus, while the center may not get to Maui and the Big Island until Monday night, it will likely be windy and rainy there during the day on Monday.

It should be moving quickly, and be south of Kaua'i by Tuesday night, but again, the western island could be feeling impacts earlier.

© Jan TenBruggencate 2009

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