Tropical Storm Niala — the 11th cyclone this hurricane season in the Central North Pacific — formed early Friday morning, tying the record for the most such storms.
The record was set in 1992 and repeated in 1994.
At 11 p.m. Friday, Niala was moving northwest at 8 mph with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph. The storm was expected to continue to the northwest through the night, followed by a turn to the west and a slowing of forward motion over the weekend. Niala was located about 325 miles southeast of Hilo and 535 miles southeast of Honolulu.
Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles from the center.
A tropical storm watch was issued by the National Weather Service for Hawaii island and is in effect through Monday afternoon.
Hawaii island is also under a flash flood watch and flood advisory. The flood watch remains in effect through Monday afternoon as abundant moisture is expected to move over the island. Total rainfall of 6 to 12 inches is expected with highest amounts along south- and east-facing slopes.
The flood advisory for Hawaii island is in effect until 2:30 a.m. Saturday after radar at 11:19 p.m. indicated moderate but persistent rainfall over the windward side of the island, which may produce localized flooding and ponding on roadways. Rain is expected to continue for the next several hours. The advisory may be extended if heavy rain persists.
Locations in the advisory include, but are not limited to, Hilo, Hawaiian Paradise Park, Kapaau, Honokaa, Honomu, Keeau, Naalehu and Eden Roc.
A high surf advisory is in effect from 6 a.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Monday. The advisory covers east-facing shores of Kauai, Oahu, Molokai and Maui.
National Weather Service forecasters say tradewinds will strengthen this weekend as Niala passes south of the smaller Hawaiian islands. The locally generated wind waves and easterly swell will produce advisory-level surf heights along east-facing shores through the weekend.
Surf of 5 to 8 feet along east-facing shores are expected to build Saturday, peak Saturday night and Sunday, then decline Sunday night and Monday.
If it takes that sharp turn west, the center of the storm should pass 100 to 150 miles south of Hawaii island.
Maui might also feel the effects of Niala, but as of this evening the Central Pacific Hurricane Center was not forecasting it would touch the other main Hawaiian Islands.
Moderate to locally breezy trade winds will prevail through the week and could become locally windy on Hawaii island over the weekend, forecasters said. Heavy showers and thunderstorms will be possible on Hawaii island late Saturday through Monday.
Meanwhile, a small craft advisory remains in effect until 6 a.m. Monday for waters around Maui and Hawaii counties as a high pressure system north of the state generates strong winds.
The advisory covers Maalaea Bay, the Pailolo (Molokai-Maui) and Alenuihaha (Maui-Big Isle) channels and waters southeast and southwest of Hawaii island, the National Weather Service said.