Felicia fizzles before reaching the islands


POSTED: Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tropical Depression Felicia, once a powerful Category 4 hurricane, is expected to dissipate into a “remnant low” as it passes south of Oahu tomorrow.

All tropical storm watches were discontinued as of 11 a.m. today, however forecasters still warn Felicia could bring localized heavy rains and strong wind gusts to Maui County and Oahu. A flash flood watch for Maui County, Oahu and Kauai remains in effect, and a high surf warning for eastern shores has been downgraded to a high surf advisory.

The Central Pacific Hurricane Center said the 11 a.m. statement on the weather system will be its last advisory for Felicia since the storm is falling apart.

“Felicia has lost all of the key characteristics of a tropical cyclone,” the advisory says. “The remnant low pressure system is forecast to move slowly westward across the Hawaiian islands during the next couple of days until the low completely dissipates.”

At 11 a.m., Felicia was 120 miles east of Kahului and about 210 miles east-southeast of Honolulu.

“The system ... still poses a rainfall and flooding hazard to portions of Hawaii,” it says. Maximum winds are estimated about 35 mph “but likely in an area well north of the center over the waters northeast of the state.”

After peaking Thursday in the Eastern Pacific as a Category 4 hurricane, Felicia slowly weakened as it headed for the islands.

As Felicia falls apart, another storm system is forming in the Eastern Pacific. Tropical Depression Nine-E, with maximum sustained winds of about 35 mph, is about 1,800 miles southeast of Hawaii. It is forecast to reach the Central Pacific by the weekend as a tropical storm.

Tropical Storm Maka, meanwhile, has formed southwest of the main islands and is forecast to strengthen but move northwest and away from the state this week.