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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 August 2007, 13:33 GMT 14:33 UK
Hawaii island spared by hurricane
The position of Hurricane Flossie is shown on this image (Image provided by NOAA)
The hurricane watch for the Big Island has now been cancelled
Strong winds and powerful waves have hit the Big Island of Hawaii as a weakening hurricane travels to the south of the US Pacific state.

US weather experts said Hurricane Flossie, now a Category 1 storm, was no longer expected to make landfall.

Nevertheless, authorities declared a state of emergency and told islanders to stock up on food and water supplies.

The tropical storm, with winds of up to 70mph (113km/h), is expected to pass south of the island.


Flossie spent most of its wrath at sea, where eight-metre (25ft) tall waves were reported.

The centre of the storm was located about 280 miles (451km) south-southeast of Honolulu, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center said at 0900 GMT on Wednesday.

It said Flossie was moving north-northwest at about 10mph (16km/h).

All 56 public schools - as well as private schools - on the Big Island remain closed, and the island's 150,000 people have been told to stay clear of the coast on Wednesday.

Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle earlier signed an emergency proclamation activating the National Guard before the storm arrived.

Other islands in Hawaii's Pacific Island archipelago - including the main island of Oahu - were less affected by the storm, US weather experts said.

The hurricane followed a magnitude 5.6 earthquake on the Big Island on Monday that caused little damage and no reported injuries.

Hurricanes are rare in Hawaii, which lies in the heart of the Pacific Ocean.

The last time Hawaii was affected was in 1992 when the island of Kauai was struck. Six people died and the island suffered $2.5bn (1.25bn) worth of damage.

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