Update: 5 a.m.
Darby is about 11o miles south-southeast of Honolulu and about 205 miles southeast of Lihue moving west-northwest at 9 mph and maximum sustained winds of 40 mph.
Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 80 miles.
A tropical storm watch has been issued for portions of the Papahanamokuakea Marine National Monument from Nihoa Island to French Frigate Shoals.
The tropical storm watch for the Big Island has been canceled.
Darby is forecast to continue this general motion over the next 48 hours.
Update 2 a.m. Sunday
Tropical Storm Darby was 70 miles west of Kailua-Kona and 130 miles south-southeast of Honolulu just before 2 a.m. Sunday.
The storm was still moving west-northwest at 10 mph with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph.
Update 11 p.m.
Tropical Storm Darby continued moving slowly west-northwest away from Hawaii island. A tropical storm warning remains in effect for the entire state.
At about 11 p.m. Darby was about 55 miles west of Kailua-Kona, and 230 miles south-southeast of Honolulu, with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph and higher gusts. It was moving west-northwest at 10 mph, and tropical-storm force winds of 33 mph with gusts up to 56 mph extend up to 70 miles from its center.
Forecasters expect Darby to make a slight turn toward the northwest over the next 48 hours, with little change in forward speed.
Darby is expected to maintain intensity through Sunday night with slight weakening expected Monday.
Total storm rainfall of 8 to 12 inches, with possible isolated maximum amounts of 15 inches, could produce life-threatening flash floods and landslides.
Update 8 p.m.
Tropical Storm Darby emerged back over water west of Hawaii island as the entire state remains under a tropical storm warning.
At about 8 p.m., Darby was 25 miles southwest of Kailua-Kona, and 165 miles southeast of Honolulu, with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph and higher gusts. It was moving west at 11 mph, and tropical storm-force winds of 43 mph or more extend up to 70 miles from its center.
Darby is forecast to make a turn toward the northwest later tonight and continue moving northwest over the next 48 hours, with little change in forward speed, forecasters said. It is expected to weaken slightly over the next 48 hours.
Update 4:55 p.m.
A tropical storm warning now covers the entire state after the Central Pacific Hurricane Center included Kauai and Niihau late this afternoon.
At about 5 p.m., Darby was 25 miles south-southeast of Kailua-Kona, and 195 miles southeast of Oahu with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, and higher gusts. It was moving west at 10 mph, and tropical storm-force winds of 39 mph or more extend up to 70 miles from its center.
Darby is forecast to turn northwest tonight with slight weakening over the next 48 hours, forecasters said.
It made landfall at 2 p.m. on the Kau coast of the Big Island as a weak tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph and higher gusts.
“Sustained winds of 43 mph and wind gusts to 61 mph have been reported in Kohala Ranch on the Big Island earlier this afternoon,” forecasters said.
Scattered power outages and some road closures have been reported on the Big Island and Maui.
Update 3:45 p.m.
Central Pacific Hurricane Center forecasters said Tropical Storm Darby made landfall at about 2 p.m. today, along the Kau coast on the Big Island.
This is about 10 miles east-northeast of Pahala and close to the location where the Tropical Storm Iselle made landfall in 2014, they said.
Iselle was a strong tropical storm, just barely below hurricane status, when it hit the Big Island, while Darby is barely maintaining its tropical storm status with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph.
With the back end of the storm yet to come onshore, Darby dropped nearly 6.5 inches of rain at Kawainui Stream on Hawaii island. Upper Kamuela and Kahua Ranch saw about 4.7 inches; while 5 inches fell on Saddle Quarry in the 24-hour period ending at 2 p.m.
On Maui, 6.3 inches fell in West Wailuaiki and a little more than 4 inches was recorded at Puu Kukui.
Update 3 p.m.
The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for parts of Hawaii island until 5 p.m. today.
“At 2:02 p.m., radar indicated heavy rain moving onshore from the east and southeast. Rainfall will spread across the Puna and Kau districts over the next several hours as the center of Darby approaches the Big Island,” the warning said.
Locations in the warning include, but are not limited to, Hilo, Pahoa, Mountain View, Glenwood, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Wood Valley, Pahala, Naalehu and Kawa Flats, according to the weather service.
Update 2 p.m.
Darby remains a weak tropical storm at mid-afternoon but is still slamming the Big Island and Maui with heavy showers and strong winds.
At 2 p.m., the storm was 45 miles south of Hilo with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph and stronger gusts, according to forecasters at the Central Pacific Hurricane Center on Oahu. The storm was moving west-northwest at 10 mph.
The winds are down from 45 mph at 11 a.m. which means that Darby is barely maintaining its tropical storm status of maximum sustained winds of 39 mph or more.
Earlier this afternoon, the National Weather Service added flood advisory to parts of Windward Maui until 3:45 p.m. today.
“At 12:51 p.m. radar indicated rainfall along the windward slopes of Haleakala has diminished but stream gauges showed elevated water levels. In addition, emergency managers reported that some streams in leeward West Maui had high flow levels due to heavy upslope rainfall,” the advisory said.
Maui County spokesman Rod Antone, however, said that Hana Highway has been reopened.
The advisory is in addition to a tropical storm warning for all main islands except Kauai, which is under a watch. A flood watch also remains in effect for Maui County and the Big Island, as does a high surf warning for east-facing shores of Maui and Hawaii island, and a high surf advisory for east-facing shores of Oahu, Molokai and Lanai.
In North Kohala on the Big Island, Hawaiian Electric Light Co. said 2,049 customers lost power at about 1:10 p.m. The company said crews are working to restore power.
Update 12:55 p.m.
A flash flood warning for parts of the Big Island and Maui County has been downgraded to a watch.
The flash flood watch covers the Big Island, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and Kahoolawe.
Oahu is also under a flash flood watch from this evening through Sunday night. Darby is expected to bring widespread rain to the state through Sunday night with locally heavy rainfall, increasing the potential for flash flooding.
Update 10:51 a.m.
Tropical Storm Darby is beginning to weaken as it moved to within 60 miles of Hilo, but is still expected to bring damaging winds and heavy rains to the Hawaiian islands.
Strong winds and heavy rains from the outer bands of Darby were beginning to hit the Puna area and West Maui, but the heaviest rains and tropical storm-force winds are yet to come, National Weather Service forecasters said.
Air Force Hurricane Hunter planes flying through the storm found the strongest winds are in the northeast quadrant of Darby and the heaviest rains appear to be in the southeast quadrant, behind the storm’s center, said Kevin Kodama, a meteorologist with the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.
Just before 11 a.m., the center of the storm was 60 miles south-southeast of Hilo and about 260 miles southeast of Honolulu with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph.
The storm is still headed west at 10 mph and tropical storm force winds extend about 105 miles from the center, slightly less than the 125 miles from the center reported earlier this morning.
Darby is on a path that will likely take it over Hawaii island and close to Maui County, but there’s still a lot of uncertainty about what will happen to the storm after it reaches the Big Island.
“You’re kind of at multiple forks in the road,” Kodama said. “We just don’t know what’s going to happen in term of outcomes.”
The storm should continue to weaken as it moves over land.
But it’s not clear yet exactly how the terrain of the Big Island and the tall mountains of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa will affect the storm. Darby is also forecast to turn toward the northwest. But it’s not certain when that turn will happen or how sharp of a turn it will be.
“The direction that it takes could have a big impact on the rains and winds it brings,” Kodama said.
Forecasters said the biggest threat from Darby is the rain, possibly as much as 20 inches in some places, and the potential for flash flooding.
”Abundant moisture and convergence around Darby will continue to cause deep convection to blow up from time to time, probably for the next couple of days, along Darby’s track. The greatest risk starts out for the Big Island today, then shifts to Maui county, before reaching Oahu on Sunday and Sunday night,” forecasters said.
The wind threat is greatest over downslope areas.
“Not everyone is going to see tropical-storm-force winds, but there will at least be some pockets of wind damage associated with Darby,” forecasters said.
Update 10:38 a.m.
Downed trees and landslides have closed the Hana Highway in three locations, a Maui County spokesman said this morning.
State highway crews are on scene working to clear the roadway.
In the 24-hour period ending at 9 a.m., nearly four inches of rain fell at West Wailuaiki and nearly 1.5 inches was recorded at Pukalani.
Update 10:19 a.m.
The U.S. Coast Guard has closed the ports at Hilo Harbor, Kawaihae Harbor on the Big Island, Kahului Harbor on Maui, Kaumalapau on Lanai and Kaunakakai on Molokai.
Commercial vessels and barges greater than 300 gross tons are expected to make preparations to leave the Oahu by 8 p.m. today and Kauai at 7 a.m. tomorrow.
Update 8:37 a.m.
A flash flood warning is posted for Hawaii island until 11:30 a.m.
Flooding has closed Kapuna Road in the Hamakua district as rain fell at rates of 1 to 2 inches an hour along the Kohala and Hamakua slopes.
Additional rain bands associated with Tropical Storm Darby will continue moving over the windward slopes of the Big Island through the day.
The warning includes North Kohala, South Kohala, Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo and Puna.
Update 8:15 a.m.
The center of Tropical Storm Darby slowed and moved to within 80 miles of Hilo as it continued on a path that could take it near or over Hawaii island, Maui County and Oahu, bringing heavy rains, damaging winds and life-threatening surf.
At 8 a.m., Darby’s sustained winds were at 50 mph, with higher gusts. The storm was moving west at 9 mph about 295 miles east-southeast of Honolulu.
The storm was on a similar path as Tropical Storm Iselle, which made landfall in the Puna area in 2014, causing widespread home and road damage and power outages on Hawaii island.
The current track of the storm calls for it to take a turn to the north and pass close to Maui County tonight. If it follows the projected track, it will approach Oahu on Sunday and Kauai on Monday.
Tropical storm force winds extend 125 miles from the center of the storm.
The strongest winds on Hawaii island observed so far were at Kealakomo in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where north winds of 25 to 35 mph with gusts to 54 mph were caused by a combination of the approaching tropical storm and the terrain. Winds are also above 50 mph on Big Island summits.
HILO » State and county officials are keeping a wary eye on Tropical Storm Darby this morning, but so far are reporting few impacts as the system approaches East Hawaii packing 50 mph winds.
A weakening, but still dangerous, Tropical Storm Darby was expected to make landfall on the Big Island later today and then churn its way across the rest of the state through Monday, promising powerful winds, life-threatening surf, and more than a foot of rain in some places.
The Central Pacific Hawaiian Center added Oahu to a tropical storm warning already covering Hawaii and Maui counties; Kauai is now under a tropical storm watch. A warning means that tropical storm winds of 39 mph or more are expected within 36 hours, while a watch means that winds of 39 mph or more are expected in 48 hours.
At 5 a.m., forecasters said, Darby was 100 miles southeast of Hilo and about 310 miles east-southeast of Honolulu with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph moving west at 9 mph. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 125 miles from the center. The wind speed was down from 65 mph on Friday.
The center of Darby is expected to pass over the Big Island today and Maui tonight, according to the National Weather Service. It is expected to slow slightly today with a turn toward the northwest tonight and Sunday, when it will near Oahu, followed by Kauai on Monday.
The state, excluding Kauai, is under a flash flood watch — Hawaii and Maui counties through Sunday afternoon, and Oahu starting tonight through Sunday evening. A high-surf warning covers Maui and Hawaii island’s east shores, while a high surf advisory covers the east shores of the other islands.
Forecasters said the storm could drop 10 to 15 inches of rain, with locally higher amounts, which could cause life-threatening flash floods and landslides.
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Staff at the Civil Defense headquarters in Hilo were monitoring the storm all night, but had little to do but watch and wait as the storm closely tracked the path followed by Tropical Storm Iselle two years ago, said Ed Teixeira, Hawaii County civil defense administrator.
Iselle did widespread damage to the Big Island, but so far Darby has been weaker and kinder.
“All night long, we’ve really had no calls for assistance,” Teixeira said. “We just kind of monitored the approach of the storm and onset of tropical storm force winds and rain. We held through the entire night.”
Before midnight the National Weather Service reported Darby had 60 mph to 65 mph sustained winds, but those had weakened to 50 mph sustained winds this morning. The storm also slowed down in its forward speed from about 12 mph yesterday to 9 mph this morning.
“We might luck out, but it’s still too early to tell,” Teixeira said.
About 35 people checked into an emergency shelter at Hilo High School, and about a dozen took shelter at Pahoa School in Puna. Shelters in Waiakea in Hilo and Kealakehe in Kona also reported about a half-dozen people had checked in at those locations.
Rhea Lee-Moku, public information officer for Hawaiian Electric Light Co., said the utility is dealing with “a few pocket outages.”
Those problems mostly involved falling trees or branches, downed lines at Hinalo Street in Pohoiki that cut power to about 15 homes. Downed lines in the Kalapana Seaview subdivision cut service to about a half-dozen additional customers, and lines were also damaged in Paauilo mauka that affected about 30 homes.
Lines were also downed in Ahualoa in Hamakua and on 10th Avenue in Hawaiian Paradise Park, where tree removal crews were working this morning, Lee-Moku said.
Teixeira said most powerful winds are forecast to pass over the Big Island at 1 p.m. today.
“Certainly, it’s not over yet,” Teixeira said. “We are hopeful (but) we are still on our toes.”
Gov. David Ige signed a statewide emergency proclamation Friday.
The Governor’s Office said “the proclamation authorizes the expenditure of state monies for quick, easy and efficient relief of disaster-related damages, losses and suffering resulting from the storm.”
Ige said, “Our top priority is to protect the health, safety and welfare of Hawaii’s residents and visitors. I urge residents and businesses to follow emergency instructions, prepare for the storm and take steps to protect your families, employees and property. The state is standing by to assist the counties — particularly Hawaii and Maui counties — which are expected to be the first to feel the impact of Tropical Storm Darby.”
Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi also signed an emergency proclamation Friday.
On Oahu, Mayor Kirk Caldwell said he would hold off declaring a state of emergency for the island until there is more information on how close Darby will get.
“We’re going to wait to see what the National Weather Service has to say,” Caldwell said, noting an emergency proclamation has been drafted and is ready to be signed. “With almost a million people living on this island, we want to make sure that before we impact the daily lives of people, that it’s something that we absolutely have to do.”
Several precautionary measures were underway on Hawaii island Friday. All camping and pavilion reservations at county and state parks were canceled. Lava viewing and swimming pools are closed through Sunday. All state and county park facilities and remote areas of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park are also closed until further notice.
Hele-On Bus service is on hold until further notice. Resumption of service will depend on road and weather conditions. Solid-waste transfer stations and landfills will also be closed today. Umauma Bridge on Highway 11 was closed, with a detour established through Old Mamalahoa Highway.
Civil Defense officials advised Hawaii island residents to shelter in place or with family and friends. Otherwise, the following pet-friendly emergency shelters are open: Waiakea High, Kalanianaole Elementary, Keaau High, Pahoa High, Honokaa High and Intermediate, Kealakehe High, Konawaena High and Kau High.
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Shelters that are not able to accommodate pets are open at Hilo High, Laupahoehoe Community Charter School, Mountain View Elementary, Waikoloa Elementary and Kohala High and Elementary. Shelter users are advised to bring their own bedding, food, water, medicines and any personal items they might need.
On Oahu, residents were expected to feel the worst effects from Darby starting tonight or early Sunday.
“There’s still huge uncertainty about this storm and its track,” said city Emergency Management Director Melvin Kaku. “So all of our planning must be flexible.”
Police, fire and emergency medical personnel are on standby through the storm, but no extra people were scheduled to report.
Meanwhile, city buses will operate on a regular Saturday schedule, all city parks will remain open and there will be regular trash pickup.
The Honolulu Fire Department urged hikers to stay away from mountains Sunday, while the Department of Emergency Services advised those with kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards to stay out of the water.
Jun Yang, the city’s homeless services coordinator, said social service workers have been scouring beaches, shorelines and the edges of other waterways across the island urging people to stay away from areas prone to flooding. A decision on whether to open shelters for the homeless will also be made sometime today.
The Mango Jam that began Friday on the grounds of the Honolulu Civic Center is expected to stay open through today. Sunday’s Tin Man Triathlon has been postponed indefinitely. The Kaimuki High School carnival was to open Friday but not run today and Sunday, and then reopen next weekend.
City work crews have been cleaning city waterways throughout the week, city Facility Maintenance Director Ross Sasamura said. Because the storm is expected to travel along a track north of Oahu, Friday’s efforts were focused on the Windward side of the island, including Kaelepulu Stream, which flows through Enchanted Lake and Kailua Beach Park.
John Cummings, department spokesman, said a core crew will begin 12-hour shifts at the Emergency Operations Center beginning at noon. “If we need to ramp up and add more, we’ll go from there,” he said.
Meanwhile, hospitality industry officials have been making sure that visitors are kept safe and informed.
“There are 244,870 visitors in the Hawaiian Islands at any given point of time,” said Randy Baldemor, Hawaii Tourism Authority chief operating officer. “We’ll do our best to keep them informed. Our message is always ‘Aloha and welcome to Hawaii,’ but with the tropical storm we want visitors to be safe and use their best judgment on how they enjoy the Hawaiian Islands. Hiking may not be the best activity, being in the ocean not the best idea in some areas because of the swell.”
Baldemor noted that 24-hour call centers were established but as of Friday afternoon had not received any calls.
Mufi Hannemann, president and CEO of the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association, said the situation is “business as usual,” but island hotels are ready to act should the tropical storm watch be upgraded to a warning.
“We don’t want to cry wolf if it’s pretty much at a stage that’s manageable,” he said. “But we are prepared to move to the next level if in fact it warrants that kind of dedication.”
Leanne Pletcher, director of marketing communications for Hilton Waikoloa Village, said an advisory letter was placed on the in-room TV channel and on reader boards throughout the property. She said the hotel will use social media channels to further communicate with guests.
Star-Advertiser reporters Craig Gima, Gary Kubota, Gordon Y.K. Pang and Leila Fujimori contributed to this story.