Former Tropical Storm Ela is now not much more than an area of low pressure surrounded by a huge blob of tropical moisture.
The former tropical depression weakened to a post-tropical remnant low, with no organized winds Friday morning. But what’s left of Ela will still bring oppressive humidity and the possibility of heavy rain to Hawaii this weekend.
Ela is weakening as two new storm systems formed far south of Hawaii overnight, including the Tropical Storm Halola, the second named storm in the Central Pacific hurricane season. But both Halola, and Tropical Depression Two-C, are too far away to have a direct impact on Hawaii’s weather.
“It’s unprecedented to see this amount of tropical cyclone activity this early in the hurricane season,” Central Pacific Hurricane Center meteorologist Jon Jelsema said.
As of 5 p.m., Halola was 430 miles southwest of Johnston Island, with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, moving west, and further away from the Hawaiian Islands at 12 mph. Tropical Depression Two-C, meanwhile, was 610 miles south-southeast of Honolulu, with maximum winds of 35 mph, moving northwest — also away from the islands — at 9 mph. It is expected to grow into a tropical storm Saturday as it moves west.
Because Ela is no longer a tropical cyclone, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center is no longer issuing advisories on it. At the last report at 5 a.m. Friday, what’s left of Ela was moving west-northwest at 9 mph. There were still maximum sustained winds of 35 mph, but the winds were no longer circulating around an organized center. Those winds are expected to continue to weaken and dissipate by early Sunday.
Surf from Ela arrived Friday and a high surf advisory is posted for east shores of all islands except Niihau until 6 a.m. Sunday.
The Coast Guard issued a warning to mariners and beach-goers to prepare and be wary of the potentially “extreme sea conditions and high surf.”
“Visitors to Hawaii should heed all warnings from lifeguards and public health and safety officials. Although weather conditions may be good, rip tides and high surf may impact beaches far in advance of the actual storm. Even the best swimmers can fall victim to the strong waves and currents caused by storms. Swimmers are urged to stay clear of beaches until local officials say the water is safe. Water conditions can also become contaminated due to runoff for several days following a storm,” the Coast Guard said.
Most of the heavy rain and moisture associated with Ela is to the northeast edge of the system, furthest away from the islands.
However, Ela will cut off the cooling tradewinds Saturday into Sunday as moist air brought up from the tropics from Ela moves over Hawaii.
The lack of tradewinds and the heavy moisture will create uncomfortable humidity this weekend and the possibility of afternoon showers Saturday and Sunday, forecasters said.
Some of the showers may be heavy and there is also a slight possibility of thunderstorms.
Tradewinds should begin to return Monday, but the tradewinds could also blow in more moisture from Ela’s remnants, bringing more showers to begin the week especially in windward and mauka areas.