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Storm brings blizzard, flood warnings

  • W.M. KECK OBSERVATORY WEBCAMERA
    This webcamera image from the W.M. Keck Observatory shows snow on the ground at the summit of Mauna Kea Tuesday morning.
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Stormy weather prompted a rare blizzard warning for Big Island summits and flash flood warnings for Kauai and Molokai.

The threat of heavy rains, thunderstorms, strong winds and dangerous snow conditions on Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea will persist through Christmas Eve, forecasters said.

Kauai is under a flash flood warning until 9:45 p.m. after county police reported flooding at the Hanalei River and were forced to close Kuhio Highway near the Hanalei Bridge.

Locations in the advisory include, but are not limited to, Haena, Na Pali State Park, Kalalau Valley, Princeille, Hanalei, Kilauea and Anahola.

Molokai is under a flash flood warning until 9:15 p.m. after a gauge showed a rapid rise in water level in Halawa Stream 6 miles southeast of Kalaupapa.

On the Big Island, flooding closed Route 270 near Keokea Beach Park Tuesday morning. 

A flash flood warning had been posted for Hawaii island overnight, but it expired at 8:45 a.m. East Maui was also under a flash flood warning overnight that expired at 9:30 a.m.

The entire state remains under a flash flood watch until 6 p.m. Wednesday because of the potential for heavy rain and thunderstorms.

A blizzard warning and a high wind warning are posted for Hawaii island summits, where south winds of 45 to 65 mph and gusts over 90 mph are expected  to bring "very strong winds and bitterly cold wind chills, heavy snow, blowing and drifting snow and lightning strikes.

Up to 12 inches of snow could fall through Wednesday with higher drifts.

The weather at the summit could create "extremely hazardous and potentially life-threatening conditions for anyone attempting to drive or hike to the summits," forecasters said.

At sea level, a high surf warning for most north and west shores is now a high surf advisory.

Wave face heights of 14 to 18 feet are expected along north and west shores of Kauai County and north shores of Oahu, Molokai and Maui. Wes shores of Oahu and Molokai could see 8 to 12 foot waves and west shores of the Big Island are expecting 6 to 10 foot waves.

The high seas and strong winds also prompted a small craft advisory for Hawaii waters until 6 a.m. Wednesday.

The forecast for Honolulu and south shores of Oahu calls for partly sunny weather Tuesday with scattered showers and locally heavy rain possible, including thunderstorms. Rain and thunderstorms are likely in the evening.

Christmas Eve should bring more showers and thunderstorms in the morning and scattered thunderstorms in the afternoon.

The current forecast calls for skies to begin clearing on Christmas Day.

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