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Big Island braces for potentially destructive wind

October 17, 2014

HONOLULU (AP) — Tropical Storm Ana is expected to deliver heavy rain and potentially destructive winds to the southern half of Hawaii’s Big Island in the next couple of days, meteorologists said Thursday.

Ana likely will become a hurricane by Friday evening but return to tropical storm strength Saturday morning, National Weather Service meteorologist Ray Tanabe said.

That’s also when the storm is forecast to be closest to the island — about 90 miles (145 kilometers) offshore to the southwest.

The storm will be farther from the coast than predicted earlier, forecasters said Thursday. It also will be a hurricane for a shorter period than previously thought.

“Right now, we expect the main impacts to be on the Big Island,” Tanabe said. The weather service has issued a tropical storm watch for the island.

The storm likely will bring up to 50 mph (80 kph) winds to the Big Island’s Kau, Puna and South Kona districts. Tanabe warned that winds of this strength can blow down trees and knock out power.

The soil in the Kau district already is heavily saturated from recent thunderstorms. Hawaii County civil defense director Darryl Oliveira has said the area could experience flooding.

Ana is expected to lose some power as it moves northwest along the island chain, but it could bring 50 mph (80 kph) winds to Oahu and Kauai, Tanabe said.

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