Meteorologists keep close eye on Hawaii’s mountainous terrain

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Olivia is weakening, and as of 5 p.m. is a tropical storm with winds around the center up to 70 mph with higher gusts.

The Central Pacific Hurricane Center says residents shouldn’t rest easy, as only one mph stands between a strong tropical storm and a weak hurricane.

Olivia is expected to remain a strong tropical storm when it reaches Hawaii. With a predicted path toward Maui County, could Haleakala help break up the storm?

Related Post: Do Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa protect the islands from hurricanes?

Not necessarily, says meteorologist Melissa Dye. 

“What we’re worried about with the terrain though with any of the islands is an increase in wind speed and even rainfall amounts coming over those mountains with the downsloping. You could have isolated gusts that are higher than tropical storm force possible,” she said.

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