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Temperatures may drop to 50s tonight as cold front dissipates

By Star-Advertiser Staff

LAST UPDATED: 3:20 p.m. HST, Jan 17, 2011

The mild storm front that passed over the islands has mostly dissipated over the Big Island this morning, the National Weather Service said.

But don’t put away the umbrellas yet.

There’s still a chance of rain, even thunderstorms tomorrow night.

The high surf that’s been hitting north and west shores is on its way down. The weather service reduced yesterday’s high surf warning for north and west shores to an advisory.

Expect a sunny Monday, but cooler temperatures tonight, dropping down into the low 60s and 50s in some spots, as cool, dry air from the north lingers over the islands, forecasters said.

A winter storm advisory posted earlier today for the summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa was dropped as the cold front dissipates.

Tom Birchard, a weather service forecaster, said the cold front didn’t bring fresh snow to the mountains. But the snow already there hasn’t melted because of cool temperatures and cloudy skies.

A mid-level low with cold air in the middle levels of the atmosphere is moving over the islands tomorrow, Birchard said.

The cold air will destabilize the atmosphere and could lead to isolated showers tomorrow night, he said.

"It's not expected to bring widespread heavy rain but it could results in some pop-up thunderstorms, where exactly we can’t say for sure," he said.

Tradewinds should start returning on Wednesday, forecasters said and should remain through the weekend.

The cold front that passed over the islands yesterday and last night caused some minor problems on Oahu and Kauai with downed trees and rockslides. It dropped 3.8 inches on Puu Lua above Kokee on Kauai and 2.1 inches in Hanalei in the 24 hour period ending at 8 a.m. On Oahu, about three-quarters of an inch fell in Waianae and Kaukonahua in Central Oahu.

The Big Island, where farmers and ranchers are still in a drought in Kau, just got a sprinkling of rain, Birchard said. The highest total was at the Keahole Airport, where about half an inch fell, but rainfall for the rest of the island was minimal.

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