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High wind warning issued for the Hawaiian islands

UPDATED 3:45 p.m.:

The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning for the state through Saturday afternoon.

Trade winds will build this evening as a high pressure system north of the islands and a low pressure area west of the state develop.

The winds will remain strong through Saturday before gradually easing through the rest of the weekend, the weather service said.

Northeast winds of 25 to 40 mph with gusts of 60 mph are expected tonight and Saturday.

Damaging winds, downed trees, fallen power lines, and sporadic blackouts can be expected. Travel will be difficult for tall vehicles.

Stay away from downed power lines, the weather service warned.

UPDATE 3:05 p.m.:

High winds are closing Honolulu and Kapolei city lights early today.

The city said the light displays will be turned off at 4:30 p.m. and the city halls will close after officials consulted with the National Weather Service in Honolulu.

A wind advisory that is in effect for the entire state will become a high wind warning at 6 p.m. today. The warning is expected to continue until 6 p.m. Saturday.

The light displays in Honolulu and Kapolei will remain closed until the wind warning is lifted, the city said.

Hiro Toiya, director of the city’s Department of Emergency Management, said the high winds will likely result in damaging winds along with downed trees and power lines tonight and Saturday.

“Sporadic power outages are also likely, and travel will be difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles,” Toiya said in a statement. “We want everyone to be safe, so please be aware of your surroundings and don’t take undue risks. Loose objects should also be secured now before the onset of the strongest winds.”

The city lights displays run through Dec. 29.

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A strong high-pressure system north of the islands is producing very windy conditions and high surf for all islands through at least Saturday.

A wind advisory is in effect for all islands through 6 p.m. today as the high-pressure system and a developing area of low pressure west of the islands boosts tradewinds, according to the National Weather Service. The trades will continue strengthening through this evening — east to northeast winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 50 mph are expected today — remaining strong through Saturday and gradually easing over the weekend.

Starting when the wind advisory leaves off, a high wind warning for all islands is scheduled to go into effect at 6 p.m. through 6 p.m. Saturday. A high wind warning means winds are expected to be at least 40 mph with gusts over 60 mph.

“The strongest winds tonight and Saturday will likely result in damaging winds, including downed trees and power lines,” the NWS said in a bulletin. “Sporadic power outages are likely. Travel will be difficult, especially for high profile vehicles.”

In addition to the wind, forecasters expect an old cold front to move through the state early Saturday, bringing with it some wet weather. Mostly cloudy conditions are expcted to persist through the middle of next week.

On Kauai, Hanalei Elementary today closed early for students at 11 a.m. due to inclement weather conditions and unpredictable area river levels, according to the state Department of Education.

A high surf advisory is also in effect through 6 p.m. Sunday for the east shores of all islands.

With waves up to 6 to 10 feet today, increasing to 8 to 12 feet tonight and Saturday, weather officials expect the surf to be rough and choppy due to strong onshore winds.

Beachgoers can expect strong breaking waves, shore break, and strong longshore and rip currents to make swimming difficult and dangerous.

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