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High-surf warning in effect for most islands as gusty trades continue

UPDATE: 4:45 a.m.

A high-surf warning is in effect for the east shores of most islands as strong, gusty tradewinds continue to buffet the state through the work week.

The high-surf warning is in effect through 6 p.m. Saturday for the east shores of Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Maui and the Big Island.

Surf up to 10 to 15 feet is expected in affected areas.

An upper-level disturbance is moving east to west across the island chain through Friday bringing strong tradewinds and a slight chance of thunderstorms, according to the National Weather Service.

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High winds, surf and heavy rains are all in the forecast this week, prompting a flash flood watch, as well as high-wind and high-surf advisories for the Hawaiian isles.

National Weather Service forecasters expect strong and gusty tradewinds to continue through the rest of the week, with heavy rains expected by Thursday, and thunderstorms possible on Friday.

The following watches and advisories are in place:

>> A flash flood watch for Maui and Hawaii island, in effect from Thursday morning through Saturday evening due to an unstable airmass moving over the isles.

>> A high-wind advisory for Oahu, Maui County and Hawaii island through 6 p.m. Thursday. Weather officials say northeast winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour, with gusts up to 50 mph are expected throughout these isles.

>> A high-surf advisory for the east shores of isles from Kauai to Hawaii island, in effect through 6 p.m. Friday. Surf of 8 to 12 feet is expected through tonight, then may increase to the high-surf warning threshold of 15 feet Thursday and Friday.

>> A gale warning is in effect for Maalaea Bay, the Pailolo and Alenuihaha Channels, and Big Island leeward and southeast waters through Thursday afternoon. A small craft advisory for waters surrounding Kauai, windward Oahu, Maui and Hawaii island, and the Kaiwi Channel, remains in effect through Friday afternoon.

With the flash flood watch, officials warn that the extended period of rain could cause flooding in low spots, making some roadways impassable.

With the wind advisory, officials warn that winds this strong can knock down tree branches and tents, cause power outages and make it difficult to steer high profile vehicles.

On Oahu, the strongest winds will be over and downslope of the Koolau and Waianae ranges. On Hawaii island, this includes areas over and downslope of the Kohala mountains, through the Saddle area and around South Point. On Maui, this includes areas in and around Kahului southward through Maalea Bay.

With the surf advisory, officials warn of strong, breaking waves and rip currents, making swimming difficult and dangerous.

The combination of large surf, very strong winds and high ocean water levels will likely cause significant wave runup and localized beach erosion along east facing shores later this week, when high tides coincide with the elevated surf.

Forecasters say the most unsettled weather is expected Friday through Saturday, with the potential for locally heavy rainfall and thunderstorms. This could linger through the weekend, particularly over the western isles.

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