State, county and Coast Guard officials are making preparations for the arrival of Tropical Storm Flossie in the islands, possibly on Monday.
Although there were no watches or warnings issued, the National Weather Service said Friday that wind and rain are forecast with the arrival of the storm, with possible heavy rain and flooding.
Flossie, packing maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, was about 1,285 miles east of Hilo, the National Weather Service said late Friday afternoon.
Flossie is moving west-northwest at almost 18 mph and is expected to approach the state possibly on Monday from the east. The system now with storm-force winds extending 70 miles outward from its center is expected to weaken late today as it moves over cooler waters, the weather service said.
There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect, but Flossie is forecast to bring gusty winds and showers, possibly heavy, the National Weather Service said.
Mayor Alan Arakawa said Friday that county departments were going through their checklists in preparation for the arrival of Flossie.
"Even though it is expected to weaken as it moves into cooler waters, the storm may still bring strong winds and heavy rains to our islands," said Arakawa. "So now is a good time for all Maui County residents to be prepared as well. Home emergency kits should be ready, your vehicle gas tanks and propane tanks should be filled and your home and property should be secured with the proper materials."
Brian Miyamoto, State Civil Defense spokesman, said that while there are no watches or warnings currently, authorities may issue flash flood watches or warnings over the weekend.
He said residents should be aware of these advisories and warnings because flooding may occur rapidly and threaten life and property.
"State Civil Defense reminds residents and visitors to take appropriate precautions," he said. "Be aware of dangers such as streams and other areas prone to flooding and mudslides. If there is the possibility of flooding, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions."
The Coast Guard was urging mariners Friday to begin planning and preparing for Flossie.
As storm approaches, the Coast Guard urged mariners to remember these guidelines:
* Stay informed. Mariners should monitor the progress and strength of the storm through newspapers, the Internet, local television and local radio stations. Boaters can monitor the storm's progress on VHF Channel 16. Small craft advisories and warnings also are broadcast on VHF Channel 16.
* Evacuate as necessary. Mariners are urged to heed evacuation orders. Coast Guard personnel and other emergency responders may not be able to assist mariners in danger during a storm.
* Secure boats and boating equipment. Owners of large boats are urged to move their vessels to protected marinas where they will be less likely to break free of their moorings or be damaged. Trailerable boats should be pulled from the water and stored in a place that is not prone to flooding. Those mariners who leave their boats in the water are reminded to secure life rings, life jackets and tenders.
* Be cautious of hazardous materials. Those with hazardous materials on or near the water are responsible for spills that may occur. Take the necessary precautions to secure these materials prior to any foul weather.
* Stay clear of beaches. Even the best swimmers can fall victim to the strong waves and rip currents caused by storms. Swimmers are urged to stay clear of beaches until local officials say the water is safe.
To keep track of the progress of the storm and other advisories, go to the National Weather Service's Central Pacific Hurricane Center at www.prh.noaa.gov/cphc/.
* Lee Imada can be reached at email@example.com.