Advancing storm will continue to weaken
Weather officials downgrade Daniel to a tropical depression
HILO » Tropical Storm Daniel, classified as a hurricane when it first started to worry officials across the state on Monday, was downgraded yesterday afternoon to a tropical depression, the National Weather Service said.
Big Island Civil Defense Director Troy Kindred had been watching the storm run out of energy. "This storm has been coming apart," he said.
Satellite images showed no heat rising in clouds from the sea to power the storm, he said.
But even though Tropical Depression Daniel might bring nothing more than a good drenching, Kindred was not taking it for granted.
"It's way too soon to know what effect, if any, Hawaii Island will feel," he said. "We're still watching it very closely."
At 5 p.m. yesterday, Daniel was still 825 miles east-southeast of Hilo and moving forward at a leisurely 5 mph, with sustained winds of less than 35 mph.
On one hand, the Weather Service said Daniel would pick up speed during the night, increasing its forward speed to 12 mph. But the Weather Service also said winds inside the tropical depression would continue to weaken.
While indicating continuing uncertainty about Daniel's path, the Weather Service also indicated that it was veering slightly south. The depression will probably be over the southern end of the Big Island about noon Friday instead of over Hilo, they said.
Daniel was also likely to go south of Oahu, but enough uncertainty remained that it could go over the island or even to the north.
Kauai Mayor Bryan Baptiste said Garden Isle officials were keeping an eye on Daniel, as well.
Many residents remember the devastation caused by Iniki, which hit Kauai 15 years ago.
Daniel, the mayor said, "acts as a reminder that we need to be prepared," but county officials were not "mobilizing resources" at this point.