HAWAII ISLAND – A Hurricane Watch remains in effect for Hawaii County as Madeline continues to track west northwest as a category three hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 125 mph.
Hawaii County Civil Defense issued an update at 6:00 p.m., telling residents that Hurricane force winds are possible over the Big Island on Wednesday.
“Ocean swells generated by Madeline are expected to reach the Hawaiian Islands over the next couple of days,” civil defense said in a radio message, “possibly becoming damaging along some coastlines Wednesday and Thursday. Heavy rains associated with Madeline may reach Hawaii County on Wednesday, and may impact other Hawaiian Islands later Wednesday into Friday. This rainfall may lead to dangerous flash floods and mudslides.”
Madeline is 550 miles east of Hilo. Forecasters predict Madeline will make a gradual turn toward the west on Tuesday. The hurricane is then expected to move just south of due west Tuesday night and Wednesday. Little change in forward speed is expected the next couple of days.
On the forecast track, the center of Madeline “will pass dangerously close” to the Big Island Wednesday and Wednesday night, the National Weather Service says.
As of 5 p.m., the National Weather Service said the chance for hurricane conditions at Hilo is 7 percent, Kailua-Kona is 5 percent, and South Point is 16 percent. Also, the chance for tropical storm conditions at Hilo is 63 percent, at Kailua-Kona is 56 percent, and at South Point is 73 percent. This represents a slight upward trend since the last forecast. The onset of tropical storm conditions could occur as early as Wednesday morning.
In preparation for Hurricane Madeline, Hawaii County Civil Defense is advising the public to be StormReady.
- Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit.
- Include a flashlight with fresh batteries, cash, first aid supplies, and any medication or supplies specific to you or your family members.
- Plan how to communicate with family members.
- Create an evacuation plan for your household.
- Bring in or secure outdoor furniture and other items that could blow away.
- Keep your vehicle fueled and cell phone charged.
To help preserve water availability through the storm, emergency officials say the Department of Water Supply asks customers to minimize non-essential use of water, such as irrigation, at this time.