The latest satellite images and forecasts on Tropical Storm Hilda show the system becoming less organized and predict a path farther south of the island, but the storm is still capable of dumping a lot of rain on the island–partly because it’s moving so slowly. As of 2 a.m. the storm was 165 miles Southwest of Hilo and moving northwest at about 5 MPH. “This slow motion is expected to continue on Wednesday with a gradual forwad motion and a turn to he west on Wednesday night and Thursday,’ reads the Pacific Hurricane Center’s 2 a.m. public advisory. Maximum sustained winds have now dropped to 45 MPH, with “stronger gusts.” But the storm still poses substantial dangers, especially from surf and flash flooding. “Swells associated with Tropical Storm Hiloda will produce large ad potentially life threatening surf along east and southeast facing shores of portions of the Hawaiian islands over the next day or two,” said the advisory. “Hilda may produce 6 to 12 inches of rainfall. Maximum values of up to 18 inches possible…. These rains could result in life threatening flash floods across portions of the Hawaiian Islands late into Saturday.”
A tropical storm watch remains in effect for Hawaii County. The storm is now expected to degrade to a tropical depression by late Wednesday evening.