Updated: Parks in Hawaii Prepare for Tropical Storm Felicia

Hawaii Volcanoes NP scene.

The park includes more than lava and rock. NPS photo.

NPS sites in Hawaii are preparing for the expected arrival of Tropical Storm Felicia later today. Backcountry trails and campsites and other areas have been closed at two parks, and visitors should check on current conditions before planning a visit.

On its present track, the center of Felicia could to reach the islands sometime today. A tropical storm watch is in effect for the islands of Maui (site of Haleakala National Park), Kaho‘olawe, Lana‘i, Moloka‘i (site of Kalaupapa National Historical Park), and O‘ahu (site of World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument). Felicia packs maximum sustained winds near 45 mph with higher gusts. A large ocean swell generated by Felicia is already affecting coastlines across the state.

Although winds from the storm may not be severe in comparison to some major hurricanes, flash flooding and heavy surf is a concern; the steep terrain in several parks adds to the flash flood potential.

All backcountry trails and campsite at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park have been closed until further notice. The closure was announced by the park on Sunday, August 9.

“We are taking the necessary steps now to ensure that our visitors and employees stay safe,” said Chief Ranger Talmadge Magno.

“The park will continue to monitor Tropical Storm Felicia and if weather conditions intensify, there could be more closures,” added Magno.

At Haleakala National Park, Hosmer Grove will be closed to all uses, including camping. All beach access points in Kipahulu will be closed, as will to all trails and backcountry. Park staff will continue to monitor the situation throughout the course of the event. If conditions necessitate, the park may put more closures into effect. Park management advises that the safest action would be for visitors to come the park after the storm passes

For information and updates on Tropical Storm Felicia, go to the Central Pacific Hurricane website at http://www.prh.noaa.gov/hnl/cphc/.