UPDATE: CPHC Monitoring Niala, Tropical Storm Watch Holds
***Updated at 5:25 p.m. to include 5 p.m. Central Pacific Hurricane Center information.***
By: Jamilia Epping
As of 5 p.m., Tropical Storm Niala was located about 375 miles southeast of Hilo.
Tropical Storm Niala was holding slightly increased wind speeds of 50 miles per hour as it moved in a northwest direction at seven miles per hour.
The storm is expected to continue on its current path overnight Friday before turning towards the west and slowing in its forward motion on Saturday and Sunday.
Wind speeds may pick up early Saturday, according to Central Pacific Hurricane Center forecasters, however, wind speeds should begin to weaken Saturday night and into Sunday.
Rainfall is expected to impact the island Friday night as a deep tropical moisture spreads over the southeast end of the state through the weekend. Rain is forecast to fall in totals of six to 12 inches, with locally higher amounts within the Tropical Storm Watch area.
A Tropical Storm Watch remains in effect for the entire Big Island.
***Original story posted at 12 p.m***
By: Jamilia Epping
A Tropical Storm Watch has been issed for the Big Island as Tropical Storm Niala nears the state.
As of 11 a.m., Tropical Storm Niala was about 415 miles southeast of Hilo, moving in a northwest direction at seven miles per hour. The storm is holding maximum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour.
CHPC forecasters say that Tropical Storm Niala should be impacted by vertical wind shear that is expected to cause the cyclone to turn towards the west and eventually the west-southwest as the low level ridge become the dominant steering source.
The storm is expected to intensify via wind speed during the day Saturday, but is forecasted to weaken by Saturday night and into Sunday.
Deep tropical mositure associated with the storm is likely to reach portions of the islands over the weekend, and a Flash Flood Watch for the Big Island is in effect until Monday.
Tropical storm conditions are within the realm of possibility for the Big Island on Sunday.
Swells are expected to produce elevated surf levels along east and southeast facing shores over the weekend and continuing into early next week.
A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.
The State of Hawai’i Department of Defense’s Hawai’i Emergency Management Agency met with the National Weather Service and other state agencies for a storm briefing Friday morning.
“We are standing by, continuing communication and coordination amongst all county emergency management and civil defense agencies, especially Hawai’i 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.