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Tropical depression forms far southwest of main Hawaiian islands

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A tropical depression formed far southwest of the main Hawaii islands Friday and its projected path has it moving north and away from the state next week.

The Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu said Tropical Depression Five-C was more than 1,000 miles southwest of Kauai, with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph and moving north-northeast at 9 mph. It is expected to intensify into Tropical Storm Malia Saturday.

Although the storm is not expected to affect the main Hawaiian islands, portions of the Papahanaumokuakea National Marine Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are under a tropical storm watch. The watch extends from Lisianski Island to Maro Reef to French Frigate Shoals. A watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within 36 hours.

The central portions of the Papahanaumokuakea should see “large and increasingly rough and dangerous (surf) on Sunday as the system moves across the area,” forecasters said. Heavy rain and thunderstorms are expected in the watch area Saturday night and Sunday with total rainfall amounts between 2 and 4 inches, they said.

The weather system is expected to strengthen into a tropical storm, with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, over the weekend, then weaken next week as it heads north, forecasters said. 

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