HONOLULU — According to a National Weather Service (NWS) briefing this morning, Niala strengthened into a tropical storm overnight. The center of the system is located about 455 miles southeast of Hilo and continues to move slowly in a northwest direction.
Forecasters are confident that Tropical Storm Niala will begin to weaken over weekend and turn towards the west because of a pattern of high wind shear, taking the center of the storm on a track south of the islands. However, the weakening rate and timing of the anticipated westward turn is somewhat uncertain at this point.
Currently, there is a 20 percent chance that Hawaii Island will experience tropical storm force winds. Heavy rainfall with the possibility of thunderstorms could begin as early as this evening and last through Monday afternoon. Flooding is a serious possibility because of the saturated soils from previous rainfall events.
“We are standing by, continuing communication and coordination amongst all county emergency management and civil defense agencies, especially Hawaii County, to ensure that they have what they need in order to prepare for and respond to any impacts Tropical Storm Niala might bring,” said Vern Miyagi, Administrator of Emergency Management.
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. Increased trade wind speeds will cause elevated surf levels on east and southeast facing shores on all islands.
Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA), advises residents on Hawaii Island to take the following precautions to prepare for possible flooding caused by Tropical Storm Niala:
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|Galen Yoshimoto||Anna Koethe|
|Public Information Officer||Public Relations Officer|
|808-733-4300 or 808-620-5408||808-733-4300 or 808-620-5422|