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Tropical Storm Felicia weakening as it nears Hawaii

tropical_storm_hurricane_felicia_forecasts_HawaiiTropical Storm Felicia continues to weaken on its slow course toward the Hawaiian Islands.

At 5 p.m. (Hawaii time), the National Weather Service was reporting that Tropical Storm Felicia had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, and was located 210 miles east-northeast of Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii, and 375 miles east of Honolulu, Oahu. At that time, the storm was moving west at 10 mph.

Updated forecasts have Tropical Storm Felicia’s center following a course that would take it just north of Maui and directly over Molokai on Tuesday afternoon and evening, as a tropical depression. From there, Felcia is expected to follow a course through the Kaiwi channel separating Molokai and Oahu, then pass just south of Oahu and Kauai on Wednesday.

A tropical storm watch is currently in effect for Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe and Oahu. A tropical storm watch for the Big Island of Hawaii was canceled at 11 a.m. today.

tropical_storm_hurricane_felicia_forecasts_Hawaii_oneThe National Weather Service expects that Felcia will further weaken overnight from a tropical storm (max. sustained winds of 39 to 74 mph) to a tropical depression (max. sustained winds of 38 mph or less) before reaching Maui and Molokai.

Felicia is expected to be completely past the Hawaiian Islands by 8 a.m. Thursday.

Felicia's gradual weakening was exactly what weather forecasters predicted would happen to the former hurricane as it moved from warmer Eastern Pacific waters to cooler waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands. At peak hurricane strength last Thursday, Felicia was a Category 4 monster clocking maximum sustained winds of 140 mph.

UPDATE, 8/11/2009: Click here for HawaiiMagazine.com's Tuesday, Aug. 11 update to this post, and National Weather Service forecasts detailing Felicia's expected weather effects on each of the Hawaiian Islands through the week.

Satellite photo of Hurricane Felicia on 8/8/09; Graphic: NOAA

Check out these related HawaiiMagazine.com posts:
Felicia dissipating over Hawaii. Storm watch lifted statewide.
Weakened Tropical Storm Iselle makes Hawaii Island landfall. Hurricane Julio expected to pass north of Islands.
Updated: Hawaii braces for approach of back-to-back hurricanes, Iselle and Julio

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