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Heavy rain, thunderstorms soak Big Isle; flash flood watch in effect

By Star-Advertier staff

LAST UPDATED: 02:40 p.m. HST, Dec 30, 2013

Hawaii County is under a flash flood watch until this evening as heavy showers and thunderstorms continue to soak the Big Island, especially along the windward coast.

Police reopened Highway 19 just before noon, after it had been closed for most of the morning because of flooding. However, police warn weather conditions could cause the closure of the Belt Highway again.

The flash flood watch is in effect until 6 p.m. Rain gauges reported that over 11 inches of rainfall in the last 24 hours at Island Dairy on the Big Isle's windward side. Officials at the National Weather Service warn that the storms may produce gusty winds and small hail and along with heavy rain.

The highway flooding occurred near the 34-mile marker of Highway 19, police said. The closure streteched from the 26- through 36-mile marker. Other road closures included Pohakea Mauka Road in Paauiko, Kukila Street in Hilo and Highway 130 near Shower Drive in Puna.

A flash flood watch means conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Officials warn motorists, pedestrians and hikers not to cross fast-flowing or rising water.

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