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Blustering winds will greet Honolulu Marathon runners

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Runners made their way along Kalakaua Avenue during the 2017 Honolulu Marathon.

Strong trade winds on Sunday will bring another challenge for the 27,000 runners expected to enter the Honolulu Marathon.

“It’s going to be really windy,” said Jon Jelsema, a forecaster at the National Weather Service in Honolulu. “It’s really going to be a tough run out to the east end of the island because they’ll be running into a tough breeze.”

Along the entire course, sustained winds of 15 to 25 mph are expected along with gusts up to 40 mph. Jelsema said the trade winds are predicted to be the strongest since late spring or early summer, not counting the hurricanes.

“It’s going to be blowing pretty good,” he said.

Of course, strong headwinds for runners heading east means possibly strong tailwinds after they turn around in Hawaii Kai to push them over the finish line at Kapiolani Park. And another bit of good news for runners is the rainy weather on Oahu on Saturday has moved south to Maui, leaving only isolated showers on Sunday.

The windy weather is being caused by two weather systems that are bookending the state — a high pressure system about 900 miles northwest of Kauai and a low pressure system to the south of the state.

The difference in pressure between the two systems is generating the strong winds, which are expected to continue through Monday and weaken Tuesday and Wednesday. A different weather system is expected to bring more strong trade winds on Thursday.

Meanwhile, traffic closures along the marathon route will start at 12:30 a.m. Sunday, affecting the areas of downtown, Kakaako, Ala Moana, Waikiki, Diamond Head, Kahala, and East Honolulu. There will be lane closures, tow-away zones, and rerouting of TheBus, race organizers said.

The run begins at 5 a.m. at Queen Street and Ala Moana Boulevard with the route skirting downtown before heading east along Kapiolani and Ala Moana boulevards, through Waikiki via Kalakaua Avenue and on to Kahala Avenue and Kalanianaole Highway. Runners will continue into Hawaii Kai before doubling back to the finish line at Kapiolani Park.

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