Sunday, June 24, 2001

Heavy rains
expected to cross
over state

Remnants of a former tropical
depression will arrive late today

By Helen Altonn

Increased clouds and showers and possibly a thunderstorm are expected in the islands today and tomorrow as remnants of former Tropical Depression Barbara head this way.

Showers were predicted late today and tonight on the Big Island, spreading to Maui, Oahu and Kauai tomorrow.

Tom Heffner, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service, said there is a possibility of heavy rainfall tomorrow, and even a chance of a thunderstorm as the system passes by.

Barbara's remnants were well to the east of the Big Island yesterday, moving toward the state, he said. "We are expecting some rainfall from the remnants, and expecting what remains of the circulation to pass just south of the islands, and on that path, the rains will spread in from the east."

Barbara started as a major tropical storm in the eastern Pacific, then weakened to a tropical depression Friday.

Heffner said strong winds at the upper levels helped to sheer the system, "so what's left is a swirl of moisture in the low levels of the atmosphere."

It's moving toward the west at 15 mph, being carried by low-level tradewinds, he said.

The trades will be about 10 mph to 25 mph, but stronger winds may blow in if thunderstorms materialize, Heffner said.

An upper-level low-pressure system moving west-southeast toward the west end of the chain may help make the atmosphere more unstable, which could possibly set off a thunderstorm or two, he added.

Barbara is the second tropical cyclone of the Pacific hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November.

It's the first modern-time tropical cyclone that has been identified coming into the Central Pacific in the month of June, Heffner said.

The first tropical cyclone of this year's hurricane season, Adolph, was far in the eastern Pacific and had no effect in this region, he said.

With heavy rainfall predicted over the weekend, Heffner said the weather service will be monitoring events closely to see if it needs to issue any watches.

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