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Better weather ahead after record rains in Hilo

  • TIM WRIGHT / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

    Kamehameha Avenue flooded this morning after heavy rains overnight.

Residents on Hawaii island began cleaning up today after record rainfall Tuesday and this morning.

Police reopened the Hilo Bayfront Highway and parts of Kamehameha Avenue after flood waters covered the roads.

Police said this afternoon that one lane is open in each direction on the road and motorists should continue to expect delays on Kamehameha Avenue.

State crews also cleared debris from Highway 19 at Malua Gulch along the Hamakua Coast, said Kanani Aton, a spokeswoman for Hawaii County Civil Defense.

The National Weather Service also dropped a flash flood watch for Maui and the Big Island.

A combination of heavy moisture in the air and unstable upper atmospheric conditions created steady rain and a deluge Tuesday afternoon and evening over Hawaii island and parts of Maui. The Mauna Kea summit also saw a dusting of snow Tuesday that melted today.

More than 11 inches of rain fell in the 24 hour period ending at 9 a.m. in Waikea Uka, above Hilo. The Waiakea Experiment Station got nearly 9.7 inches, and almost 8 inches fell in Mountain View.

Hilo Airport recorded 3.13 inches Tuesday, breaking the old record for Oct. 4 of .89 inches set in 1963. The early morning rain also set a record today. The Hilo Airport recorded 2.83 inches, breaking the record for the date of 2.5 inches set in 2006.

Vehicles parked in a lot off Kamehameha Highway appeared to have suffered flood damage, Aton said. The lot is used by people who take the bus early in the morning to the west side of the island, she said.

A photo posted by iammoke (@iammoke_) on

Soccer fields, which are in a flood drainage area, were also under water today.

Aton said she went out to the flooded area this afternoon and noticed storm drains were mostly clear and working. But she said the amount of water just overwhelmed them.

“The weather has been very wet,” she said. Rains since Sunday saturated the ground and the heavy rain Tuesday afternoon and evening led to the flooding, she added.

The forecast for the Big Island and the rest of the state calls for gradually clearing weather.

There may still be some windward showers tonight in Hilo, but conditions should improve by this weekend as tradewinds pick up and the heavy moisture in the atmosphere moves away.

“We’re expecting moderate, tradewind weather (statewide),” said Tom Evans, a meteorologist with the Honolulu office of the National Weather Service. “… your typical windward and mauka showers in the morning and isolated night and morning leeward showers.”

The pleasant tradewind weather should continue into the Colombus Day holiday.

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