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Hawaii issues emergency proclamation ahead of Tropical Storm Darby

Hawaii issues emergency proclamation ahead of Tropical Storm Darby

A tropical storm churning off the coast of Hawaii was expected to bring strong wind, pounding surf and possible flash flooding to the islands Sunday, officials said.

As Tropical Storm Darby nears Hawaii's Big Island and Maui, Gov. David Ige signed an emergency proclamation in advance and residents are already beginning to feel the storm's impacts.

She says Tropical Storm Darby, which is about 40 miles south of Honolulu, has toppled some trees and caused some localized flooding.

Darby is forecast to remain a significant tropical storm, 63-mph sustained winds and 81-mph gusts.

Brown-water advisories have been issued for coastal water off Oahu, the Big Island and Kauai from storm and flood runoff.

"Many of our employees have been working around the clock since Friday to prepare for the storm and to then safely restore electric service as quickly as possible", said Rhea Lee-Moku, public information officer. The proclamation allows easier access to county emergency resources, along with the suspension of certain laws as needed for emergency purposes. Not all waters may be affected, but officials advise staying out of the water if it's brown.

Hawaii issues emergency proclamation ahead of Tropical Storm Darby

The Hawaii Fire Department confirmed a downed tree in Pahoa triggered a power outage in the area, KHON2 also reports.

The city reopened Hanauma Bay after closing it Sunday because of high surf generated by Darby. Surf could be up to 12 feet high on the east side of Maui and be powerful on the other islands, too. The storm is forecast to weaken Monday.

Additional closings are expected as the rain and wind move on shore. Residents are urged to complete storm preparations before nightfall.

Overnight, Hawai'i Electric Light restored electric service to 900 customers in various parts of Hāmākua, upper Puna and Kona that were impacted by high winds from Tropical Storm Darby. Backcountry areas of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii Island, including the lava viewing areas, are off-limits until further notice. County lava viewing and swimming pools are closed effective noon today.

Civil Defense also advised people to seek shelter in place or with family and friends. Those seeking shelter at the facilities needed to bring their own amenities, such as bedding, water, extra clothes, flashlights and batteries. Hilo High, Laupahoehoe Community Charter School, Mountain View Elementary, Waikoloa, and Kohala High and Elementary are open but are unable to accommodate pets.

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