Tropical Storm Olivia drops light rain on Maui, Big Island

September 11, 2018 - 2:49 pm

HONOLULU (AP) — Tropical Storm Olivia began dropping light rain on Maui and the Big Island on Tuesday as its outer rain bands approach the state.

The storm could deposit 10 to 15 inches of rain on the islands, though some areas could get as much as 20 inches, Central Pacific Hurricane Center meteorologist Matthew Foster said.

Some places might be more blocked from the rainfall, depending on the wind direction, he said.

Olivia was a couple of hundred miles east of Maui and heading toward that island as it packed maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kph.)

Maui or Oahu counties appeared mostly likely to experience the worst effects, Foster said.

Officials were worried about landslides in west Maui because brush fires during Hurricane Lane three weeks ago wiped out vegetation, Maui County spokesman Rod Antone said.

The owner of the only hardware store in the small town of Hana on Maui's eastern side said he was determined to stay open because it's the only place residents can buy storm supplies.

"If people need to get tarps or screws or anything for their home . I think it's important for us to try to stay open as much as possible, without jeopardizing the well-being of our staff," said Neil Hasegawa, the owner of Hasegawa General Store.

Even though the storm is forecast to affect Hana starting Tuesday night, Hasegawa was planning to open at the normal time in the morning: 7 a.m.

"We're just kind of playing it by ear for now," he said. "We'll see how bad it is."

Residents are bracing for Hana to take the brunt of the storm, Hasegawa said.

People who prepared for recent Hurricane Lane have largely left those preparations in place for Olivia, he said.

"I think they're even taking it more seriously than Lane," Hasegawa said. "You can see the track going ...it's like barreling down on this eastern end."

His store is a popular stop for tourists making the scenic, winding drive to Hana, population 1,200. He's encouraging those who don't need to be in Hana Tuesday or Wednesday to stay away because they could become trapped and take up limited shelter space.

"It's better for those people to hunker down and stay in place, rather than start traveling the road," he said. "Resources are really limited on this side of the island."

David Roth, facilities manager for the Travaasa Hana resort nearby, said workers are doing "normal storm preparations," though he declined to provide specifics.

He wouldn't say whether the resort was full, but he noted there had been several cancellations.

There was light rain over the property Tuesday morning, Roth said. "We're used to stormy weather on the east side of Maui," he said.