Tropical Depression Hilda (formerly Hurricane Hilda) is now passing south of the Big Island, bringing locally heavy rains. The County of Hawaii remains under a flash flood watch. As of about 11 a.m. today, the center of the depression was about 235 miles southeast of Hilo, and maximum sustained winds were 35-55 MPH.
“The flash flood watch issued by the National Weather Service remains in effect for Hawaii Island, ” reported Hawaii County Civil Defense, which noted that the watch was “expected to remain through 6:00AM Saturday morning. As Tropical Storm Hilda continues to track to the south of Hawaii Island heavy rains and thunder showers are expected and may result in flooding conditions. Heavy rains and thunder showers are expected across the east and southeast area of Hawaii Island and to begin this afternoon and through tonight. Residents in flood prone areas are advised to take necessary precautions and motorists are advised to drive carefully and prepare for possible hazardous conditions and traffic delays. Currently all roads and schools are open. Some schools may be modifying or suspending after school activities based on anticipated weather conditions and possible road closures. Parents are advised to contact your respective schools for current information on after school programs. Additional updates may be broadcast and posted as conditions change. Please monitor your local radio broadcast for updates.”
The Central Pacific Hurricane Center has posted a “Tropical Preparedness Tip” that includes the following note: “Tropical cyclones including hurricanes, tropical storms, and tropical depressions. Even the weakest tropical depressions can bring torrential rains and flash flooding to the Hawaiian Islands.”
According to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park’s Web site, “all backcountry areas in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park will be closed as of 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 12 until it is safe to reopen them. No backcountry permits will be issued until park staff reassess the storm’s impact. In addition, Mauna Loa Road from K?pukapuaulu to the Mauna Loa Lookout, and Namakanipaio Campgrounds and A-frame cabins, will close as of 5 p.m. Wednesday. Much of the park will remain open, including Jaggar Museum, Kilauea Visitor Center, restrooms, lava tube, front-country trails, steam vents, and other popular features. Visitors should be prepared for heavy rain and wind.”
Jason Armstrong of Hawaii County’s Parks and Recreation Division told the Chronicle that all County Parks and Rec facilities remained open.