A tropical storm watch has now been declared for the Big Island because of Hurricane Hilda. The latest maps for the storm have shifted its projected path a little north again, but it still has the eye crossing Ka’u and South Kona between 2 a.m. Thursday and 2 a.m. Friday.
According to the latest County of Hawaii Civil Defense Bulletin, “A tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within 48 hours and include high surf and surge, strong winds, and heavy rains. As of 5:00 Hurricane Hilda was located approximately 290 miles east southeast of Hilo and moving in a northwest direction at 7 miles per hour. Currently, Hilda continues to weaken however presently recording sustained winds of 85 miles per hour with higher gusts. Hurricane force winds currently extend outward 25 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 70 miles. A high surf warning has been issued for the east facing shores of Hawaii Island remains in effect through 6:00am Wednesday morning. Surf heights of 10 to 15 feet along the east facing shores can be expected. Boat owners and residents in coastal areas are advised to secure all vessels and to take necessary precautions. We encourage everyone to continue to plan and prepare early for possible storm impacts and to monitor your local radio broadcasts for additional updates.”
The storm is forecast to weaken, but remains a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour.
In the hours before the storm, residents should secure loose items in garages and lanais, stock up on non-perishable groceries, board over or tape windows, make sure that flashlights and portable radios have batteries and cell phones are charged, locate emergency candles or other lighting, freeze extra ice, unplug unneeded electrical appliances and secure pets indoors.