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Felicia slows and weakens on path toward Maui and Oahu


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POSTED: Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Barely a tropical storm, Felicia continued at a jogger’s pace toward the Hawaiian Islands this evening, carrying potential downpours overnight and tomorrow.

The storm had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, with higher gusts, down from 45 mph earlier in the day, the National Weather Service said in its 8 p.m. update

The center of the storm was about 340 miles east of Honolulu, traveling west at about 10 mph. At that speed, the center would reach Honolulu in 34 hours, or 6 a.m. Wednesday.

But strong winds are felt up to 140 miles from the center, so Honolulu could feel the first effects by 4 p.m. tomorrow. A large ocean swell generated by the storm is already pounding the main Hawaiian Islands and is expected to build tonight.

City lifeguards reported two rescues at Sandy Beach and three rescues and five assists at Makapuu.

The weather service said a tropical storm watch remains in effect for Oahu, Maui, Lanai and Molokai.

The weather service canceled the tropical storm watch and flash flood warning for the Big Island as the storm took a path to the north. But a high surf warning remains in effect for the Big Isle, with waves expected to peak at 18 feet today.

Forecasters said the storm is expected to weaken over the next few days.