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July 29, 2013

Flossie: Tropical storm weakens en route to Hawaii

HONOLULU — Weather officials say Tropical Storm Flossie is weakening as it slowly moves westward across the Pacific toward Hawaii, but is still expected to bring heavy rains and winds up to 60 mph when it reaches the state late Sunday night or early Monday morning.

The National Weather Service said Sunday that Flossie could bring flash flooding, mudslides, tornadoes and waterspouts.

The service issued a tropical storm warning for Oahu, Hawaii's most populous island with the city of Honolulu, to go along with previous warnings for the Big Island, Maui, Molokai and Lanai. The warning means the storm represents a threat to life and property.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed an emergency proclamation in anticipation of the storm, allowing the state to use its disaster fund to pay for staff overtime, supplies and other resources. The proclamation also allows the state to call Hawaii National Guard members to duty, if necessary.

"The purpose of signing this proclamation is to ensure that state agencies have full powers necessary to best protect and serve the people of Hawaii," Abercrombie said.

Michael Cantin, a warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Honolulu, said Sunday that the tropical storm warnings were expanded because the storm strengthened overnight Saturday, before it began weakening Sunday.

Cantin said heavy rains are likely with winds a growing possibility, including gusts able to knock down power poles and blow away loose objects.

"These winds will be strong enough to pick up debris and throw things around," Cantin said.

The service also issued a tropical storm watch for Kauai and Niihau, a less severe notice, asking people to make a plan and pay attention to see if things get worse.

Officials warned people to cancel beach trips, finish necessary storm preparations and evacuate if asked by local officials.

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