Hurricane Olivia is heading straight for the Hawaiian islands, backed by 115 mph wind. Olivia is expected to hit as early as Tuesday evening with promises of pounding rain, strong winds and flash floods.
Flash flooding is also expected from the second cyclone to strike the islands in 2018, after Hurricane Lane brought over 50 inches of rain in August.
School closures may be expected for midweek, similar to what happened with Hurricane Gordon in the southeast U.S., given the potential for another foot or more of rain.
On Monday morning, Sept. 10, the National Weather Service said the “impacts of Hurricane Olivia are expected to reach Hawaii on Tuesday; and Hurricane Florence is now a major hurricane, and should be closely monitored by residents in the southeast and mid-Atlantic. Flood threats continue in the northeast, due to the remnants of Gordon and in the western Gulf Coast.”
In particular, “tropical storm conditions are expected over parts of Hawaii starting late Tuesday…. Olivia is forecast to be a strong tropical storm when it reaches the Hawaiian Islands…. Olivia is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 10 to 15 inches. Isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches are possible, especially over windward sections of Maui County and the Big Island. This rainfall may produce life-threatening flash flooding.”
Monday morning, the NWS detailed that, “The chance for flooding rainfall will increase rapidly late Tuesday and will remain a significant threat through at least Wednesday. Preliminary storm total rainfall amounts are in the 10 to 15 inch range, with isolated areas up to 20 inches. Much of this rainfall will be focused on windward areas, many of which already received substantial amounts of rain from recent Hurricane Lane. However, flooding will be a significant threat for all areas.”
Meanwhile, on the U.S. east coast, the National Hurricane Center said this afternoon, Sept. 10, that Hurricane Florence has become a Category 4 hurricane, “has continued to rapidly strengthen and has maximum sustained winds near 130 mph.” North and South Carolina then, plus Virginia, are squarely in its path.
NHC warned today that, “A life-threatening storm surge is likely” there, along with life-threatening freshwater flooding, combined with a “prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall event.” There are also likely “damaging hurricane-force winds” along the coast, with damaging winds reaching well-inland in those states.