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Felicia falls to tropical depression before reaching Maui


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POSTED: Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Felicia fell to a tropical depression overnight with winds of 35 mph and stronger gusts, but forecasters warn it will still deliver high surf, heavy rains and possible flooding starting today.

At 8 a.m., the storm was moving to the west at about 10 mph, and was about 140 miles east of Kahului and 235 miles east of Honolulu, forecasters at the Central Pacific Hurricane Center said today.

Gusty winds and heavy rains should spread across Maui County this morning before reaching Oahu and Kauai tonight and tomorrow.

The depression is expected to weaken more in the next two days. However, a tropical storm watch was still in effect for Oahu and Maui County as a precaution in case the storm strengthens. A flash flood watch from Maui to Kauai remains in effect also.

“Abundant moisture associated with Tropical Depression Felicia may produce heavy rainfall and possible flash flooding” through Wednesday afternoon, forecasters said.

A high surf warning for all islands remains in effect until tonight with wave heights on east shores expected as high as 15 feet.

Also today, forecasters upgraded another Pacific depression far off Hawaii to Tropical Storm Maka, with top sustained winds near 40 mph. Maka’s center was located about 1,060 miles west-southwest of Honolulu. The storm was moving west-northwest near 12 mph.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.