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Tropical Storm Weakens Near Hawaii

July 31, 2000

HONOLULU (AP) _ Tropical Storm Daniel weakened slightly as moved on a track that was expected to bring wind and rain to Maui, Oahu and Kauai islands.

Late Sunday, Daniel was 225 miles east of Kahului on Maui and moving west at about 10 mph, with sustained winds of 60 mph and gusts up to 75 mph. Sustained wind had been clocked at 65 mph earlier in the day.

Jim Weyman, director of the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, said the storm should weaken over the next 24 hours but could produce heavy rainfall, strong wind and high surf as it moves across the islands.

Weyman said Maui County will see gusts of up to 45 mph and 2-3 inches of rain beginning about noon Monday, while parts of Oahu will see similar conditions later in the day.

The strongest winds _ up to 55 mph _ are predicted for Kauai on Tuesday, along with rainfall of up to 6 inches.

The Big Island, Hawaii, was expected to be largely spared, but high surf was already recorded there Sunday and some beaches were closed.

State civil defense spokeswoman Barbara Hendrie said residents of all islands should monitor the storm closely, noting that forecasts have changed several times in the past few days.

``It’s not something to take lightly,″ she said.

Maui County public schools and the community College were to be closed Monday, and non-emergency government workers were told not to report to work. On Oahu, Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris said schools would remain open.

Farmers had hoped the expected heavy rain would bring some relief to drought-stricken areas, but Weyman said any downpour won’t mean an end to their woes.

``If you get very heavy rain in a short period of time, a lot of that rainfall runs off rather than soaking into the ground,″ he said. Also, the northern and eastern ends of the islands are most likely to see heavy rain, while the western areas are in much greater need.

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