Tropical Storm Darby nears Hawaii, emergency declared

Oahu Prepares Ahead of Tropical Storm Darby

July 23 (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Darby bore down on Hawaii on Saturday, prompting its governor to declare an emergency over a storm expected to make landfall with strong winds and heavy rain later in the day.

Forecasters said Darby would reach the U.S. state's Big Island on Saturday when winds could near 60 mph (95 km/h) and as much as 15 inches (40 cm) of rain could fall, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said in an advisory.

"I urge residents and businesses to follow emergency instructions, prepare for the storm and take steps to protect your families, employees and property," Hawaii Governor David Ige said in an emergency proclamation statement.

NOAA said the storm could cause life-threatening flash floods as well as landslides.

The storm was about 120 miles (190 kms) east-southeast of Hilo as of 2 a.m. local time on Saturday, the National Weather Service said. It issued a tropical storm warning for Hawaii County, on the Big Island, as well as for the islands of Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe.

NOAA also said surf swells generated by Darby are likely to hit the Hawaiian Islands over the next couple of days.

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