Pacific's First Hurricane ... Headed for Hawaii?
Update 11 p.m.: The National Weather Service has issued a tropical storm warning and hurricane watch for Hawaii's Big Island, according to media reports; winds of 40 to 50 miles per hour are expected, as well as 10 or more inches of rain in some areas. Forecasters expect the system -- now a Category Three hurricane -- to pass 100 miles south of the Big Island's South Point tomorrow or Wednesday.
No cruise itinerary changes have been announced; Norwegian Cruise Line, a major player in the region, tells us they are monitoring the situation and will know more tomorrow. We'll keep you posted.
Hurricane Flossie remains a Category Four storm this morning, churning toward the Hawaiian Islands with 135-mile-per-hour winds. The storm is expected to pass about 70 miles south of the Big Island late Tuesday or early Wednesday, according to forecasters.
At this point, the prediction remains that the storm will weaken considerably before passing by the islands, but it could still deliver strong winds and heavy rain. A change in course could also bring Flossie closer to land, and emergency workers are at the ready ... just in case.
The last hurricane to strike the Hawaiian Islands was Iniki; that 1992 storm caused $2.5 million in damage on Kauai.
--by Melissa Baldwin, Senior Editor
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Hawaii's Big Island on Hurricane Flossie Watch
August 13, 2007