Hawaii reopens national parks after Tropical Storm Darby loses punch

Partly to mostly sunny skies returned to Hawaii on Monday, and two popular national parks were again welcoming visitors after Tropical Storm Darby brought high winds, dangerous surfs and heavy rain over the weekend.

At 8 a.m. Pacific time Monday, Darby was downgraded to a tropical depression by the Central Pacific Hurricane Center. It was located 185 miles west-northwest of Honolulu.

While airports remained open and airlines linking the Southland with the islands operated normal schedules, Haleakala National Park on Maui was closed for part of the weekend but operating normally on Monday.

Backcountry areas of the Big Island’s Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which draws visitors for prime viewing of an active lava flow, also reopened.

The tropical storm’s biggest casualty appears to be a dinner cruise boat that sank along the Kailua-Kona coast of the Big Island.

West Hawaii Today reported the 70-foot Spirit of Kona apparently broke free of its mooring early Sunday morning. After running aground near the lighthouse north of Kailua Pier, the boat sank. No one was on board.

The National Weather Service said a flash flood watch for Oahu, which includes Honolulu, and Kauai was set to expire at 3 p.m. Pacific time Monday.

Thanks to higher temperatures and humidity, the heat index on Tuesday in Honolulu is forecast to reach 95 degrees. The actual temperature should top out in the mid-80s.

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