Tropical Depression Flossie continues to weaken as it traverses Hawaii, battering the state's black sand beaches and tall, tropical volcanoes with 45 mph (75 kph) winds and localized rainfall of up to 15 inches (38 centimeters).
Though it may not seem like it to those living on the mainland, in the Hawaiian Islands, Pacific tropical storms are pretty common events, said Steve Businger, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. "There have been several in the 20 years I've lived here. They're not so terribly rare," Businger told LiveScience. (Tropical storms have winds between 39 and 65 mph or 63 to 105 kph.)
It's hurricanes that are the rare bird in the region. Only four hurricanes (Iniki, Iwa, Dot and Nina) have made landfall in Hawaii in the past 60 years, though four or five tropical cyclones (the blanket term for tropical storms and hurricanes) form in the central Pacific every year, according the National Weather Service's Central Pacific Hurricane Center. By comparison, the U.S. mainland sees about seven hurricanes make landfall every four years, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Florida alone has been hit by four hurricane since 2010. (Hurricanes have winds of more than 74 mph or 119 kph.)