A storm called Flossie has been forcing schools and government buildings to close across Hawaii.
Governor Neil Abercrombie signed an emergency proclamation on Sunday that gives him the power to use state disaster funds and call up the National Guard if needed.
Flossie has been downgraded from a tropical storm to a tropical depression, and it continues to weaken. But high winds and heavy rains have knocked out power to thousands of homes on several islands, and there are worries about flooding.
- Tom Evans, acting director of the National Weather Service’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.
ROBIN YOUNG, HOST:
It's HERE AND NOW. And that storm called Flossie has forced schools and government buildings to close across Hawaii, but at least it did not, as first feared, become the first hurricane to hit the island of Hawaii since 1958. Tom Evans is acting director of the National Weather Service's Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu. Tom, Flossie downgraded below a tropical storm this morning?
TOM EVANS: That is correct. The National Weather Service has downgraded it to a post-tropical remnant low, which means that it's no longer very strong winds. We're bringing it down to about 30 miles per hour or less.
YOUNG: So that does that mean no problem there? I mean what about the rains? What are your concerns?
EVANS: So a flashflood watch is still in effect until Wednesday morning, and heavy rains could cause that flooding.
Also, we have a high surf advisory out, which means that we can still see those big waves, mainly for Oahu and Kauai.
YOUNG: Well, when you say you see big waves, I imagine surfers might see them as well. Are you talking about dangerous waves or...
EVANS: Yes. These are dangerous waves, so it's best to stay out of the water and away from the coastline.
YOUNG: Hawaiians presumably know what to do in storm situations, but how do you get safety information to tourists?
EVANS: There is a network of security administrators that provide information both to visitors and employees to keep themselves and their visitors safe.
YOUNG: I'm reminded though, that might include the emergency response that comes on your radio, and this happened - just last weekend I was driving in Vermont, for Vermont Public Radio, and a warning cut into my car radio that I should seek cover if I was in a certain county, and I didn't remember the names of the counties. It's just kind of maybe a reminder to people when they travel to familiarize themselves with where they are.
EVANS: The way the National Weather Service issues warnings is by county for the most part. And so knowing what county you're in, you'll have a much better idea of where you are in relationship to the dangerous weather.
YOUNG: Tom Evans, acting director of the Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Flossie, which has been downgraded but still watching for potential flash flooding there. Tom, thanks so much.
EVANS: Well, thank you very much, Robin.
JEREMY HOBSON, HOST:
And Robin, I know that, you know, severe weather is a serious story, but hearing Hawaii, all I want to do now is just go there...
YOUNG: Yes, yes.
HOBSON: ...take a vacation. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.