Almost all the Hawaiian islands are under a tropical storm warning.
The Honolulu Star Advertiser says the city of Hilo is already seeing rain and wind, as a weakened Tropical Storm Flossie moves closer. The storm is expected to hit the Big Island later this morning.
The National Weather Service's Central Pacific Hurricane Center summarizes the expected effects like this:
"Flossie showed some weakening over the past six hours, while still remaining a significant threat. This storm will bring a variety of weather hazards to the state over the next 30 to 40 hours, though these could be summarized as heavy rain, strong wind, high seas, and elevated surf."
What's truly noteworthy about this storm, though, is that it will become the first tropical cyclone in recorded history to hit the Big Island head on.
"It [is] also on track to be the first tropical cyclone to make landfall in the islands since Hurricane Iniki ravaged Kauai in 1992.
"'We've had some close calls that have come by since Iniki ... (but) this is the first time in quite a while that we've seen a direct threat from a land-falling tropical cyclone, in this case a tropical storm,' NWS warning coordination meteorologist Michael Cantin said."
The paper goes on to explain that in the past, as tropical systems approach the islands, they are weakened by wind shear and cooler waters. That's why most tropical systems come in as unnamed tropical disturbances.
KITV-TV reports that Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed an emergency proclamation in preparation.
"All parts of our emergency response system for the entire state are working together," Abercrombie said, according to KITV. "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."