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Visitor drowns off Waimanalo Beach

  • CENTRAL PACIFIC HURRICANE CENTER
    At 11 p.m. Saturday, Tropical Storm Oho was 405 miles south-southeast of South Point, Hawaii island, and about 605 miles south-southeast of Honolulu.
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A storm system south of the state rapidly intensified into a tropical storm early Saturday and could become a hurricane by the time it nears Hawaii island on Monday, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.

Meanwhile, a female visitor from Korea apparently drowned in waters off Waimanalo Beach Park as hazardous surf conditions prevailed along north and east shores across the state.

According to Ocean Safety spokesperson Shayne Enright, lifeguards responded to two people in distress about 70 feet offshore and roughly 100 yards to the left of the lifeguard tower.

One lifeguard was able to bring one of the two — identified as a male visitor from Korea in his 20s — safely to shore.

Lifeguards and Honolulu Fire Department rescue personnel searched for the second person, a woman in her 20s, and eventually located her close to shore to the right of the tower. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The incident occurred around 3 p.m.

A flood advisory is in effect for Hawaii island until 2:15 a.m. after radar at 11:14 p.m. indicated areas of moderate to heavy rain covering most of the eastern half and southeast slopes of the island. Additional areas of rain are developing elsewhere across Hawaii island. The heaviest rain was observed around the Volcano National Park and Mountain View. 

On Friday, the National Weather Service issued a high-surf advisory for Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Maui and Hawaii island effective until 6 p.m. Sunday.

Surf along north shores is expected to reach 12 to 16 feet. Eastern shores could see surf of 6 to 10 feet.

Beachgoers are cautioned to expect strong breaking waves, shore break, and strong longshore and rip currents that could make swimming difficult and dangerous.

The high-surf conditions prompted Ocean Safety officials to close Hanauma Bay beach on Saturday. Ocean Safety personnel will re-evaluate the surf today to determine if the beach is safe to reopen.

Weather and surf conditions could worsen as the first of two tropical cyclones approach.

At 11 p.m. Saturday, Tropical Storm Oho was 405 miles south-southeast of South Point, Hawaii island, and about 605 miles south-southeast of Honolulu, moving northeast at 5 mph with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph. Tropical storm force winds extended outward up to 345 miles from the center.

Oho is expected to move slowly over the next couple of days, making a turn toward the northwest through Sunday and then turning north-northeast on Monday. Forecasters expect the storm to steadily intensify over the next 48 hours and become a hurricane by Monday morning.

Farther south from the islands is Tropical Depression Eight-C.

At 11 p.m., Eight-C was 440 miles south-southwest of Johnston Island and about 1,160 miles southwest of Honolulu, moving east-southeast at 2 mph with maximum sustained winds of 30 mph.

The depression is making a slow counterclockwise loop and is expected to turn to the west-northwest on Sunday, with increasing forward speed Sunday night and into Monday. It is forecast to become a post-tropical remnant low on Sunday, with little change in intensity over the next 48 hours.

Eight-C is the 13th tropical cyclone in the Central Pacific in the record-breaking 2015 season.

The previous record of 11 tropical cyclones was set in 1992 and tied in 1994. The current hurricane season ends Nov. 30.

The potentially disruptive weather prompted Maui County officials to cancel until further notice Monday’s scheduled Maui County Community Budget meeting, Maui County Community Development Block Grant application workshop, and Molokai Employee Recognition Luncheon.

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