2 P.M. UPDATE: Ana Still Projected to Pass South of Big Island
The Central Pacific Hurricane Center conducted a press briefing at 2 p.m. Thursday. Warning Coordination Meteorologist Chris Brenchley presented the latest information on Tropical Storm Ana, including potential impacts as the system continues to approach the state.
Summary of Alerts
TROPICAL STORM WATCH – Posted for Hawaii County, Maui County Leeward Waters, and parts of the Alenuihaha Channel.
FLASH FLOOD WATCH – Up for the entire state beginning Friday at noon
HURRICANE WARNING – Covering all Hawaiian Offshore Waters starting Friday afternoon
TROPICAL STORM WARNING – Covers all Hawaiian Offshore Waters starting tonight
Tropical Storm Ana currently has maximum sustained winds of 60 mph with gusts up to 70 mph. Tropical storm force winds extend 60 miles from its center. Ana is moving West at 8 mph.
Tropical Storm Ana was last located near 14.3 N and 150.9 W, about 465 miles
southeast of Hilo; 505 miles southeast of Kailua-Kona, 450 miles southeast of South Point, 580 miles southeast of Kahului, Maui; 625 miles southeast of Kaunakakai, Molokaʻi; 595 miles southeast of Lānaʻi City; and 665 miles southeast of Honolulu, Oʻahu.
A weak high pressure ridge to the north of the state that has been steering the storm is weakening and Ana is expected to turn west-northwest and then northwest. The timing of the northwest turn is integral to the forecast. We’ll keep watching this closely.
Ana is still expected to be a hurricane late Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, increased wind shear will weaken Ana back down to tropical storm status.
Forecast & Uncertainty:
The current track has not changed much with Ana passing 85 miles southwest of the island of Hawai’i Friday night. The timing of possible wind impacts is as follows: Big Island on Friday, Maui County Saturday, Saturday night near Oahu, and Kauai on Sunday. Rainfall and cloud cover will occur ahead of the winds.
The probability of tropical storm conditions over Big Island & Maui County leeward and southeast coastal waters is 50 – 60 percent; 26 percent in Hilo; 43 percent in Kailua-Kona, and 54 percent near South Point.
Remember, these systems are notoriously difficult to predict and the center of the storm has a 66 percent chance of landing anywhere within the cone of uncertainty. The margin of error going out 48 hours is still a whopping 80 miles. Even small shifts in the track can mean major differences in where the worst conditions will occur. Damaging effects can extend far from the center so it’s important that residents prepare just in case.
Hawai’i County Civil Defense is already reporting surf of 5 – 10 feet at Isaac Hale Park.
Potential Impacts (if the track holds)
Heavy rain may reach the Big Island late Friday, potentially causing dangerous flash flooding with excessive runoff, causing possible mud slides and rock slides. Flooding is possible statewide.
Large dangerous surf conditions are expected to begin impacting the eastern end of the Hawaiian islands, spreading westward through the weekend. Additional storm surge of 1 -2 feet for southeastern shores is expected.
Increasing winds could reach 30 mph, and gusts could reach 70 mph as the center of Ana passes.
The Big Island could see 10 to 15 inches of rain with up to 20 inches locally along southeast facing slopes beginning Friday afternoon.
Winds of 25 to 40 mph, gusting to 55 mph, are possible Friday and Saturday.
Seas of 15 to 25 feet are projected. Surf heights up to 20 feet are possible late Friday along the Puna & Kau coastlines during the closest approach. Elevated surf of up to 15 feet is possible along the Kona coasts Saturday.
Meteorologist Chris Brenchley said that “a Tropical Storm Warning would be issued 24 – 36 hours before the onset of Tropical Storm conditions, as soon as that becomes apparent. For now, there’s not enough confidence in the forecast track to issue a warning and that’s why Hawai’i county is under a tropical storm watch for the moment.”