Sunny skies this morning will turn cloudy and rainy later today over Hawaii island and Maui County and over Oahu tonight, National Weather Service forecasters said. The storm may also bring near-hurricane force winds to Big Island summits and even snowfall this afternoon and tonight.
The same weather system that brought heavy showers to the islands a few days ago is moving back over the islands from the southeast, said Derek Wroe, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Hawaii island and Maui County will get the rain first and Oahu will see potentially heavy showers and thunder storms later tonight.
Hawaii and Maui counties are under a flash flood watch through Thursday afternoon. A flash flood watch will also go into effect for Oahu at 6 p.m. through Thursday afternoon.
"Rain is expected to be widespread and slow-moving, affecting urban areas in the lower elevations, which will be more susceptible to flooding problems," the National Weather Service said in a weather advisory. "Heavy rain is also expected over upslope areas, which will likely produce flash flooding of streams."
A high wind warning is also in effect for the summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, where southeast winds of 40 to 65 mph and gusts of 75 mph, are possible until 6 a.m. Thursday.
The summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa are also under a winter weather advisory from noon through tonight. Several inches of snow is expected to fall this afternoon and evening.
It’s not clear yet if the heavy rains will move over Kauai or if it will break up over Oahu and the eastern islands.
The rainy weather could linger into Friday and possibly into the weekend.
The forecast for Honolulu on Friday calls for an 80 to 90 percent chance of showers. But forecasters do not expect heavy rains.