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Lester downgraded to tropical storm

  • NOAA / NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE

    This map shows Tropical Storm Lester’s projected path as of 11 p.m. HST on Saturday.

Update 11 p.m.

Lester was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm tonight as it continued on a west-northwest path that’s taking it away from the Hawaiian islands.

Just before 11 p.m., the Central Pacific Hurricane Center showed Tropical Storm Lester 140 miles north of Honolulu and 125 miles northeast of Lihue, moving west-northwest at 15 mph.

Maximum sustained winds decreased to 65 mph, with tropical storm-force winds extending outward 115 miles from the center of the storm.

Forecasters warn that the storm will continue to bring dangerous surf to the islands through Sunday morning, and a high surf warning is still in effect for Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Molokai until 6 a.m. Sunday. A high surf advisory for the Big Island was extended until 6 a.m. Surf is expected to reach 10-20 feet through the night along east- and northeast-facing shores.

Update 8 p.m.

High surf warnings remain in effect for the east-facing shores of Oahu, Maui, Molokai and Kaui as Hurricane Lester continues to send dangerous surf to the islands. Forecasters at the National Weather Service in Honolulu said surf ranging from 10 to 20 feet is possible through the night.

A flash flood warning for the Big Island expired at 8 p.m. today.

Maui remains under flood advisory until 8:45 p.m.

Update 6:45 p.m.

Maui is under flood advisory until 8:45 p.m., according to the National Weather Service in Honolulu.

The Big Island remains under flash flood warning until 8 p.m.

Update 5:15 p.m.

Hurricane Lester continued on its west-northwest path tonight, with the Category 1 hurricane sending flood conditions and dangerous surf to the islands as it passed to the north.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for the Big Island until 8 p.m., as heavy rains drenched South Kohala and North Kona. Gulches crossing Highway 190 between Puuanahulu and Waimea are at risk of overflowing, forecasters said.

At 5 p.m., the Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu showed Hurricane Lester at about 240 miles north-northwest of Hilo and 130 miles northeast of Honolulu. The storm, which was downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane earlier today, had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph with higher gusts as it moved west-northwest at 17 mph. Hurricane-force winds extend outward 10 miles from the center of the storm, with tropical storm-force winds extending out 125 miles.

Forecasters expect Lester to continue weakening gradually through Monday but warn that dangerous surf and heavy rains should persist throughout the islands tonight.

Update 4:30 p.m.

A weakened Hurricane Lester continued passing north of the state today, bringing dangerously high surf for east-facing shores, the possibility of heavy passing showers over Kauai and Oahu overnight, and muggy weather likely until Labor Day.

“The primary concern right now is the surf impact on the east and northeast shores,” said Kevin Kodama of the National Weather Service in Honolulu. Surf at Makapuu was reported to be 10 to 15 feet in the early afternoon.

The National Weather Service issued a high surf warning for east-facing shores from Maui to Kauai until 6 a.m. Sunday. The east-facing shores of Hawaii island were under a high surf advisory until midnight.

Kodama said locally heavy rain could follow the back end of Lester as the Category 1 storm passes the state, from tonight and into tomorrow. But the showers will move along without major impacts, unlike the “Darby-type” rains that flooded streams and major thoroughfares in Honolulu in July.

He said the islands were on the calmer side of Lester, which was about 150 miles east-northeast of Honolulu about 2 p.m., and lighter winds were expected.

The counter-clockwise-spinning storm, however, was expected to block easterly tradewinds, creating muggy conditions over the islands.

“As (Lester) passes north of us, our winds are going to shut down,” Kodama said. “It’s going to definitely be humid.”

He said no major incidents related to Lester were reported to the Weather Service by early Saturday afternoon.

Honolulu officials opened the Emergency Operations Center for about four hours today to monitor Lester and found no major impacts, said John Cummings, spokesman for the city’s Department of Emergency Management.

He said the EOC was opened at 8 a.m. and closed about noon after a quiet morning.

Hurricane Lester was downgraded Saturday morning to a Category 1 storm, and the most damaging winds and rains from Hurricane Lester were expected to stay offshore. At about 11 a.m., the storm had maximum 85-mph winds extending about 45 miles from the center and tropical storm-force winds extending up to 125 miles from the center.

The National Weather Service dropped hurricane watches for Oahu and Maui counties this morning as Lester continued on a track that will take it north of the state.

At 11 a.m., Lester was 185 miles north of Hilo and about 175 miles east-northeast of Honolulu with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph.

Forecasters said windshear was beginning to tear the storm apart as it moves to the west-northwest track at about 17 mph.

Surf was expected to reach 10 to 20 feet through tonight along east and northeast facing shores from Maui to Kauai.

Surf was expected to peak on Oahu and Kauai through the evening, then quickly decline late tonight, the weather service said.

Waves could wash over roads and cause coastal erosion.

Lester brought light to moderate rainfall to parts of the state.

In the 24-hour period ending at 3 p.m., about 1.29 inches fell at Lyon Arboretum in Manoa, 3.01 inches fell at Kawainui Stream on Big Island, and 1.94 inches fell at Mount Waialeale on Kauai.

Previous coverage

Hurricane Lester has been downgraded to a Category 1 storm but is still expected to bring dangerously high surf for the east shores of the islands.

The most damaging winds and rains from Hurricane Lester are expected to stay offshore, however locally-heavy rain and thunderstorms are still possible.

Tropical moisture from the storm is moving over the islands, making for a muggy and potentially wet weekend.

The National Weather Service dropped hurricane watches for Oahu and Maui counties this morning as Lester continued on a track that will take it north of the state.

At 11 a.m., Lester was 185 miles north of Hilo and about 175 miles east-northeast of Honolulu. Lester had maximum sustained winds of 85 mph.

Forecasters said windshear is beginning to tear the storm apart as it moves to the west-northwest at relatively quick pace of 17 mph.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 mph from the center and tropical-storm force winds extend outward up to 125 miles.

“The closes approach to the islands of Lester will be at mid-day, about 115 miles from Maui. However, any deviation to the left of the intended track will alter the forecast and increase the potential for hazardous weather to especially the smaller islands,”

A high surf warning is in effect for exposed, east shores of all islands through Sunday afternoon.

Surf is expected to reach 15 to 25 feet through tonight on the Big Island and Maui County and will begin lowering on Oahu and Kauai early Sunday.

“Large breaking surf, significant shore break and dangerous currents make entering the water very hazardous,” forecasters said. “Anyone entering the water could face significant injury or death.”

The waves could wash over roads and cause coastal erosion.

The forecast for the state calls for a mix of clouds, rain, muggy conditions and breezy tradewinds turning light and variable over Maui and the Big Island this afternoon and shifting to the south over Oahu by Sunday as the back end of Lester passes.

“Passing trade showers will continue to roll in this morning with the possibility of increasing frequency of showers toward noon for the smaller islands,” forecasters said.

Kona winds Saturday and Sunday, along with humid conditions, will increase the chance of afternoon showers, and possibly thunderstorms over interior sections of all islands.

“As we move into Sunday, Lester will be some 350 miles northwest of Kauai and continues to move further away from the islands. However, there is a north to south band of clouds and showers trailing Lester that will bring more showers including a slight chance of a thunderstorm for the smaller islands,” forecasters said.

Cloud bands ahead of Lester brought scattered showers throughout the state overnight and this morning.

In the 24-hour period ending at 9 a.m., about 1.1 inches fell at Lyon Arboretum in Manoa, 0.8 inches fell in Moanalua and about a half-inch of rain was recorded at Pupukea and Nuuanu.

On Kauai, 1.7 inches fell on Mt. Waialeale, 2.7 inches fell at Puu Alii on Molokai, about 2.6 inches fell at West Wailuaiki and Puu Kukui on Maui, and 2.9 inches was recorded at Kawainui Stream on the Big Island.

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  • The only good thing about a hurricane warning, etc. is watching Guy Haggi jumping out of his skin. The guy is practically hysterical every time we get a few extra drops of rain and he really gets wacky when the big stuff hits. He should take a lesson or two from cool, calm and collected Ben G. That guy never gets rattled and is very professional. Haggi needs something to calm himself down or look for another job.

  • Weather underground has given excellent and up to the minute information on this storm and I am very thankful for this resource. Was very helpful to learn of the data received by the Air Force recon and real circumstances such as wind shear. My family is freaking out after watching the TV news and then a look at the real situation calms down. Thank you Weather Underground.

  • Thank you Lester for not stopping for a visit. We appreciate you moving on. We had our President’s visit which kept our local police force and residents’ welfares to contend with and it would have been a bit of a problem if you had stayed. Thanks again we appreciate the swells and kisses to our shores it made some residents and tourists alike happy!

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