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'Enhanced' showers to continue through Christmas

By Star-Advertiser Staff

LAST UPDATED: 2:37 p.m. HST, Dec 22, 2011

"Enhanced" showers and gusty tradewinds will stick around through Christmas, the National Weather Service says. But the rain won't be as heavy as they were earlier this week. In addition, snow on Mauna Kea is likely to linger, at least in patches, making for a partly white Christmas at the summit observatories. 

Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa are under a winter weather advisory until noon today. Forecasters say an additional inch or two of snow may fall. The weather service warns that travel to the summit will be hazardous because of reduced visibility and slippery roads.

Maureen Ballard, a forecaster with the National Weather Service, says no more snowfall is expected through the weekend. But temperatures should remain cold enough for the snow to stay on the ground through Christmas.

"As long as the temperatures stay cool at the summit, which they should, there will probably be some patches of snow on the ground on Christmas," Ballard said.

As for the rest of the state, Ballard said a combination of gusty trades and moisture in the air will make for windward and mauka showers that could be blown over leeward areas through Sunday.

"We expect a few more showers than usual," Ballard said.  But the gusty trades mean the rain will not stay over any one spot for too long, she said.

Hawaii island should also start drying out as a weather system southeast of the state moves away.

The rain is believed to be a factor in a number of landslides on the Hamakua Coast near Laupahoehoe earlier this week. The latest at 12:30 a.m. today closed Highway 19 near the Kaawalii Gulch for about four hours.

A more typical tradewind weather pattern is predicted to return early next week.

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