Severe weather has been a common theme in Hawaii this summer. We’re fortunate that it hasn’t been as bad as the Atlantic Hurricane Season so far, but that could change. For now, though our immediate concern is the current tropical storm. And Tropical Storm Olivia impacts Maui today; the first direct hit for the island as far as I can remember.
During my last update, the former Hurricane Olivia lost steam and became a tropical storm. And, at the time, most of Hawaii was under a Tropical Storm Warning. Well, things have changed dramatically since then, with Olivia continuing to weaken, but still maintaining tropical storm force winds. There wasn’t a question, though, if whether or not the storm would impact the state; it was more a question of when and where?
Olivia Impacts Maui
Tropical Storm Olivia began impacting the Valley Isle on Tuesday as the outer bands of the storm made landfall. Olivia is expected to pass between Maui and the Big Island. And as it makes its way over the island, the storm is expected to continue to lose steam, dropping in intensity from 60 MPH to the 40 to 55 MPH winds range. Torrential rains are also possible, with an average of 10 to 15 inches of rain expected in most areas. As a result, County officials aren’t taking any chances.
So, today on Maui, all non-essential services are unavailable. This includes all public schools, library, parks, etc. Haleakala National Park will also be closed until further notice. And I can tell you, even if the park were to open, it wouldn’t be fun to be up there. The 25 MPH (sea level) winds we experienced there during our sunrise experience were INTENSE. And, as far as transportation is concerned, the only flights experiencing cancelations are Ohana by Hawaiian flights in and out of Maui. Mainline Hawaiian Air flights will continue to operate, though the Airline urges checking statuses before heading to the airport.
Impacts to Other Islands
The other islands aren’t going to see as much of an impact as Maui but may experience some effects. Even if wind damage is minimal, heavy rains are still a distinct possibility. As a result, on Oahu Hanauma Bay will not be open today (strong currents), while the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center will close until further notice.
Tropical Storm Olivia Impacts Maui, Final Thoughts
While a direct hit by a tropical storm isn’t something to take lightly, it’s a lot better than being hit by a hurricane. So, I am hopeful that Tropical Storm Olivia will not have much of an impact on Maui. Olivia is moving at a rapid pace, so there shouldn’t be too much flooding, I hope. But, again, with El Nino conditions forming in the Pacific, it’s only a matter of time until we see another storm.