Tropical Storm Darby Makes Landfall in Ka’u on Big Island of Hawaii
Latitude/Longitude: 19.54°N, 155.66°W
Landfall: Ka’u, Big Island, Hawaii at 2 p.m. local time on Saturday, July 23
Maximum sustained wind speed: 43 mph reported, with gusts up to 61 mph
Hazards: Heavy rain, rough surf, wind gusts
Watches/Advisories: Tropical Storm warnings, which ended for all of Hawaii at 5 a.m. local time; Flash Flood Warning for Oahu; Brown Water Advisory for Hawaii County
Reported Impacts: Power outages; Umauma Bridge
on Highway 19 closed during the weekend; Highway 11 between Volcano and Naalehu closed during the weekend; H-1 Freeway westbound closed during the weekend; fallen trees blocking local roads, mostly in Puna; many county and state parks facilities closed during the weekend, with some reopenings reported Monday; backcountry areas and some roads in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park closed during the weekend.
Tropical Storm Darby formed just off the coast of Mexico on July 11, quickly reaching hurricane status as it moved westward toward Hawaii. Though it weakened on its approach to Hawaii, Darby made landfall along the Ka’u coast of the Big Island as a tropical storm, near where Tropical Storm Iselle made landfall about two years ago. At the time, Iselle was the first tropical storm approaching from the east to hit the Big Island since an unnamed storm hit from that direction in 1958. And haggard though Darby was after its eastern approach, it achieved what none of the tropical cyclones in the central Pacific did last year: It made landfall – and became only the fifth landfalling tropical cyclone in Hawaii’s recorded history. The record shows no Hawaii landfalls as close together as Iselle’s and Darby’s.
Figure 1. The wind history of Tropical Storm Darby, indicating that most of Hawaii experienced tropical storm force winds.
Darby was downgraded to a tropical depression as of 5 a.m. local time; there is a Flash Flood Warning for Oahu that was in effect as of this morning and may be extended. A Brown Water Advisory has also been issued. Heavy rain, rough surf, and wind gusts are expected across Hawaii.
Figure 2. A fallen albizia tree from Tropical Storm Iselle in 2014. (Source: AIR)
Many county and state parks were closed over the weekend, with state parks on the Big Island and Makena State Park on Maui now re-opened, while park closures on Oahu are yet to be concluded.
All roads are open now, and emergency shelters are closed. Over the weekend, however, Umauma Bridge on Highway 19 closed as did Highway 11 between Volcano and Naalehu and the H-1 Freeway westbound. Emergency shelters on the islands of Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, and Lanai were open over the weekend.
This will be the final communication on Tropical Storm Darby.