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Kona low moves east, making way for cool, clear weather

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  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Pedestrians brave a downpour, this morning, near University Avenue.

    JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Pedestrians brave a downpour, this morning, near University Avenue.

  • COURTESY NWS
                                This radar image from about 7:45 a.m. today shows heavy rain and thunderstorms over Kauai and much of Oahu.

    COURTESY NWS

    This radar image from about 7:45 a.m. today shows heavy rain and thunderstorms over Kauai and much of Oahu.

UPDATE: 9 p.m.

A high wind warning for Maui and Big Island, and the islands’ summits, remains in effect until 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Forecasters expect southwest winds 30 to 50 mph with localized gusts over 70 mph.

A winter storm warning for the Big Island summits is also in effect for the same time period. The National Weather Service says the summits will see heavy, blowing snow, possible blizzard conditions, additional snow accumulations of up to 8 inches, and winds gusting as high as 120 mph.

A wind advisory for Kauai, Oahu, Lanai and Molokai, meanwhile, is in effect until Tuesday 6.a.m. also.

Tonight’s advisories and warnings are the last remnants of the weekend kona-low system that brought heavy rain and powerful winds to the islands. The fast-moving storm knocked down trees and utility poles, caused power outages and localized flooding throughout the state, and even brought pea-sized hail to some spots.

In the storm’s aftermath, Hawaii is expected to see strong westerly winds across the state through tonight, followed by a slight decrease in winds on Tuesday.

By Wednesday, winds will become light and and Hawaii should see clear, relatively cool weather through the rest of the week.

A flash flood warning for the Big Island has expired.

5:55 p.m.

A high surf warning for the north- and west-facing shores of Oahu, Kauai, Molokai and Niihau, as well as the north-facing shores of Maui, is in effect until 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Forecasters are predicting “dangerously large breaking waves of 30 to 40 feet” and powerful currents with waves breaking in channel entrances, making navigating the channels dangerous.

“Stay away from the shoreline along the affected coasts. Be prepared for road closures. Postpone entering or leaving channels affected by the high surf until the surf subsides,” according to the warning.

5:47 p.m.

According to the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency, a handful of road closures have been announced on Hawaii island due to debris, downed trees and flooding blocking the roadways:

>> Highway 19 at the 35-mile marker near Paauilo

>> Palani Road vicinity at the 36-mile marker

>> Waikoloa Road vicinity Paniolo intersection

>> Kawaihae Road vicinity of Akulani

>> Alii Drive vicinity Laaloa Beach Park

5:45 p.m.

American Red Cross volunteers are staffing a shelter in response to high winds and rain that limited access to Hana Highway.

The shelter opened at 5:30p.m. at Hana High & Elementary School, 4111 Hana Highway.

Red Cross officials said caseworkers will work with those affected to provide immediate assistance. Anyone coming to the shelter should bring anything they need, especially food, bedding, medicine, important documentation and personal protective equipment like masks and sanitizer. Pets are welcome if they are kept in a hard-case kennel, officials said.

Earlier this afternoon, Maui County officials warned that stormy conditions had caused unsafe driving conditions along Hana Highway. They said boulders, rocks and broken branches are blocking portions of the highway.

5:35 p.m.

Hawaiian Electric crews are working to restore 5,000 Maui customers affected by storm-related power outages, according to a news release.

The areas affected include portions of Wailuku, Waikapu, Kahului, Wailea, Makena, Kihei and upcountry areas such as Olinda and Piiholo, Kula and Ulupalakua, and the Haiku to Hana area.

At around 2:15 p.m., about 12,000 Maui customers were estimated to be without power.

5:30 p.m.

The severe thunderstorm warning for Hawaii island expired at 5:30 p.m., forecasters said.

“The storm which prompted the warning has weakened below severe limits, and no longer poses an immediate threat to life or property. Therefore, the warning will be allowed to expire,” the National Weather Service said.

A severe thunderstorm watch remains in effect until 8 p.m. for the Big Island, and a high wind warning is also in effect through the night.

5:15 p.m.

A severe thunderstorm watch for Maui County has been discontinued, but remains in effect for the Big Island until 8 p.m.

A severe thunderstorm warning remains in effect for the Keauhou, Captain Cook, Honaunau, and Pohakuloa areas until 5:30 p.m. An earlier thunderstorm warning for further north on the island has expired.

A high wind warning also remains in effect for the island into tonight as the Kona low system moves east and away from the island chain.

Meanwhile, a flash flood warning remains in effect until 7 p.m. for Hawaii island.

At 4:55 p.m., the radar and rain gauges showed heavy rain falling over the west side of the Big Island. Rain was falling over Waimea at a rate of 2 to 3 inches per hour. Flash flooding was reported along Kawaihae Road. Forecasters said Waiaha Stream is expected to overflow and cause flooding on Kuakini Highway near Oni Oni Street over the next hour.

Some locations that will experience flash flooding include Kailua-Kona, Captain Cook, Waikoloa Village, Kapaau, Holualoa, Puuanahulu, Honalo, Kainaliu, Kealakekua, Kahaluu-Keauhou, Kalaoa, Pohakuloa Training Area, Honaunau, Puako, Kawaihae, Kamuela, Kohala Ranch, Waipio Valley, Waimanu Valley and Pololu Valley.

4:30 p.m.

A flash flood warning now covers the entire Kona coast of Hawaii island, and a severe thunderstorm warning covers a northern section of the island.

The severe thunderstorm warning is in effect until 5 p.m. and threatens 70 mph wind gusts and quarter-size hail, according to the National Weather Service.

Hail damage to vehicles, and wind damage to roofs is expected, forecasters said.

The severe thunderstorm warning covers Kailua-Kona, Paauilo, Waipio Valley, Puuanahulu, Kamuela, Honokaa, Waikoloa Village, Laupahoehoe, Ookala, Kohala Ranch, Kalaoa and Waimanu Valley.

The weather service issued a second flash flood warning for the west coast of the Big Island at about 4 p.m. The warning lasts until 7 p.m. and covers Kailua-Kona, Captain Cook, Waikoloa Village, Kapaau, Holualoa, Puuanahulu, Honalo, Kainaliu, Kealakekua, Kahaluu-Keauhou, Kalaoa, Pohakuloa Training Area, Honaunau, Puako, Kawaihae, Kamuela, Kohala Ranch, Waipio Valley, Waimanu Valley and Pololu Valley.

An earlier warning for Waimea, Hawi, Mahukona, Kawaiahae and Puako and lasting until 6:15 p.m. remains in effect.

The flood watch that once covered the entire state is now in effect for just Hawaii island and Maui County through late tonight.

A high wind warning for Maui County and Hawaii island is in effect until 6 a.m. Tuesday, and a wind advisory covers Oahu and Kauai for the same period.

After the kona low system moves past the Big Island, the state forecast calls for clear skies and decreased winds.

3:46 p.m.

The National Weather Service reports the high wind warning remains in effect for Maui County and Hawaii island through 6 a.m. Tuesday. The warning also covers the Big Island summits and Haleakala summits, while a wind advisory is in effect for Kauai and Oahu through 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Forecasters said to expect west winds of 50 to 80 mph with localized gusts over 120 mph.

“Expect high winds and thunderstorms with heavy rains to continue throughout today for all parts of Hawaii island,” according to the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency.

Highway 19 at the 35-mile marker near Paauilo has been temporarily closed as a result of debris on the roadway.

Forecasters said the strong winds can make driving and walking dangerous and urged the public to be prepared for road closures.

“Be aware that roadways may close due to flooding or fallen trees without notice,” according to a statement. “Stay away from streams, rivers, drainage ditches, and culverts and other flood-prone areas. Do not cross fast-flowing water in a vehicle or on foot; turn around don’t drown.”

3:10 p.m.

A flash flood warning has been issued for Waimea, Hawi, Mahukona, Kawaiahae and Puako on Hawaii island until 6:15 p.m. today.

The National Weather Service said, “At 3:08 p.m., radar indicated heavy rain over the slopes of the Kohala Mountains. The highest rain rates of 2 to 3 inches per hour were falling on saturated ground over Hawi, the Akoni Pule Highway, and the Kohala Mountain Road. The heavy rainfall is spreading southeastward toward Kawaihae.”

The warning covers Waikoloa Village, Kapaau, Kawaihae, Kohala Ranch, Puako, Kamuela, Pololu Valley, Waimanu Valley, Waipio Valley, Halaula, Hawi, Kukuihaele, Mauna Lani, Waikoloa Beach, Waikii and Mahukona.

2:15 p.m.

The severe thunderstorm watch has been canceled for Oahu and Kauai, but extended into tonight for Maui County and the Big Island.

In addition, the National Weather Service in Honolulu also issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the island of Maui until 3 p.m.

Forecasters said that at 2:11 p.m., a severe thunderstorm was located over Olowalu, and moving east at 65 mph.

NWS warned of possible 60 mph wind gusts in the affected areas, which include Kahului, Honokohau, Kahakuloa, Haliimaile, Lahaina, Makawao, Paia,Wailuku, Olowalu, Waihee, Kaanapali and Pukalani.

Meanwhile, the severe thunderstorm watch is now in place until 8 p.m. for Maui County and the Big Island.

“A severe thunderstorm watch means conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorms in and close to the watch area. Persons in these areas should be on the lookout for threatening weather conditions and listen for later statements and possible warnings,” the weather service watch says.

NWS officials noted that the extended watch includes Kahului and Kona.

The entire state remains under a flood watch until Tuesday morning and a high wind warning until 6 p.m. today as the “kona low” system continues to move east over the islands.

1:30 p.m.

Stormy conditions have resulted in unsafe driving conditions along Hana Highway, Maui County officials said this afternoon.

They said boulders, rocks and broken branches are blocking portions of the highway.

Visitors are asked to postpone planned trips to Hana until weather and road conditions have improved, according to a Maui County news release. Hana residents are without power and dependent upon generators and there is no Wi-Fi service in the area, officials said.

And they warned that Hana-area streams are prone to flash flooding.

Piilani Highway between Kipahulu and Ulupalakua also remains closed until further notice, officials said.

Maui County has also closed the Central Maui landfill until further notice due to flooding, road debris, and unsafe weather conditions.

Haulers are asked to avoid the Pulehu Road area due to poor road conditions, approaching thunderstorms, high winds and heavy rains, county officials said, until an announcement on its reopening is made.

Maui County officials have requested Kaunakakai residents conserve water due to the loss of the Kualapuu well pump. Numerous weather-related power outages have resulted in the loss of this pump that serves the Kaunakakai area.

“The estimated time to assess the situation, restore the well pump and replenished the diminished water storage levels to meet demand is 72 hours,” officials said in a news release.

The County of Maui’s Department of Water Supply asks Kaunakaki residents to reduce consumption of water at this time, and to refrain from unnecessary water use such as washing cars, and washing down sidewalks and driveways.

Status updates are available at 808-270-7633.

12:20 p.m.

The severe thunderstorm warning for Oahu was lifted at noon but the National Weather Service’s flash flood warning for Hawaii island, and the flood advisory for Oahu remain in effect.

Additionally, about 4,420 Hawaiian Electric customers are without power in Nanakuli and Waianae. Crews are working to restore power, the company said.

The Big Island warning is in effect until 1:30 p.m.

“At 11:04 a.m., radar and automated rain gauges indicated heavy rain falling over the west side of the Big Island.,” the warning said. “The highest of rain rates were 1 to 2 inches per hour over the South Kohala and North Kona Districts. This rain is occurring over ground saturated from earlier rainfall. Flash flooding is ongoing or expected to begin shortly, especially along the Kohala Mountain Road, Highway 190 near Mile Mark 5 and 6, and Puako.”

The Oahu flood advisory is in effect until 1:45 p.m.

“At 10:29 a.m., radar indicated that heavy rainfall continues with rain rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour over Central and North Oahu. Additional rainfall will move over the island from the west over the next several hours,” the advisory said.

The entire state remains under a flood watch and a high wind warning as the “kona low” system moves over the islands today.

Honolulu and Maui counties also remain under a severe thunderstorm watch until 2 p.m. today.

11:45 a.m.

The National Weather Service in Honolulu has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Oahu until noon.

“At 11:35 a.m., a severe thunderstorm was located near Waipahu and Mililani, moving east at 55 mph,” officials said.

Wind gusts up to 60 mph are possible, they said, adding “expect damage to roofs, siding, and trees.”

The warning covers Honolulu, Waimanalo, Haleiwa, Wahiawa, Waialua, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii Kai, Kaaawa, Ahuimanu, Punaluu, Wheeler Field and Kapolei.

“For your protection move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a building,” the warning said.

11:09 a.m.

A flash flood warning has been posted for Hawaii island.

The flash flood warning is in effect through 1:30 p.m. today. Radar and rain gauges at 11:04 a.m. showed rain falling at rates up to 1 to 2 inches per hour over the South Kohala and North Kona districts, the National Weather Service said.

Some locations that will experience flash flooding include Kailua-Kona, Captain Cook, Waikoloa Village, Kapaau, Puuanahulu, Holualoa, Honalo, Kalaoa, Pohakuloa Training Area, Kainaliu, Kahaluu-Keauhou, Kealakekua, Puako, Honaunau, Kawaihae, Kamuela, Kohala Ranch, Waipio Valley, Waimanu Valley and Pololu Valley, weather officials said.

10:59 a.m.

The summit district of Haleakala National Park and the Pipiwai Trail in the Kipahulu District will remain closed as a result of the severe weather, according to a news release.

All reservations for Hosmer Grove Campground, wilderness cabins and wilderness tent camping for Dec. 19 have been canceled. All sunrise reservations on Dec. 20 have been canceled.

Haleakala will reopen once weather conditions improve.

10:48 a.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood advisory for Hawaii County until 1:30 p.m. as excessive rainfall pelts Hawaii island.

At 10:17 a.m. radar indicated a new band of heavy rain had moved onshore from the southwest, the weather service said. Rain rates were 1 to 2 inches per hour over portions of North Kona and South Kona districts.

Forecasters said rainfall is expected to continue into the afternoon over the west side of the island.

Kailua-Kona, Captain Cook, Waikoloa Village, Kapaau, Puuanahulu, Holualoa, Honalo, Kalaoa, Pohakuloa Training Area, Kainaliu, Kahaluu-Keauhou, Kealakekua, Puako, Honaunau, Kawaihae, Kamuela, Kohala Ranch, Waipio Valley, Waimanu Valley and Pololu Valley are areas forecasted to experience flooding.

The flood advisory for Oahu has been extended until 1:45 p.m. today as excessive rainfall continues.

On Oahu, doppler radar showed scattered thunderstorms over the island at about 10:30 a.m. with the strongest storms near Laie and Pearl City, moving east at 25 mph.

Some locations projected to experience flooding include Wahiawa, Wheeler Field, Schofield Barracks, Mililani, Kunia, Waikele, Waialua, Waipahu, Pearl City, Haleiwa, Waikane, Punaluu, Hauula, Aiea, Waiahole, Waianae, Nanakuli, Halawa, Makakilo and Laie.

A flood watch is also in effect for Honolulu through early Tuesday morning.

10:25 a.m.

Road closures have been reported in North Kohala on Highway 250 (Kohala Mountain Road) near the 16-mile marker, Highway 270 (Akoni Pule Highway) near the 24 and 26-mile markers in Honokaa on Lehua Street and Highway 130 at the 12-mile marker in Puna due to debris, Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth said on his Facebook page.

Road crews are responding to clear debris.

Waipio Valley Road also remains closed today, except to residents and farmers.

9:55 a.m.

The National Weather Service issued a special weather statement for Oahu. Strong thunderstorms will affect the island through 10:15 a.m.

Radar at 9:52 a.m. showed a line of strong thunderstorms extending across Oahu near Kahuku and Laie, across Central Oahu near Schofield Barracks, to West Oahu near Waianae and Maili. The line of strong storms was measured moving east at 40 mph, the NWS said.

Weather officials warned of wind gusts up to 55 mph and pea-sized hail.

9:30 a.m.

Puuhonua o Honaunau and Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Parks on Hawaii island will be closed today due to strong winds, rough surf and heavy rains, according to a National Parks Services news release this morning.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE

Severe thunderstorm watches have been extended for most of Hawaii as flood advisories remain in effect for Oahu, Maui and Hawaii island.

The severe thunderstorm watches are in effect for Oahu and Kauai and Maui counties through 2 p.m. today, according to the National Weather Service.

A severe thunderstorm watch means conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorms in and close to the watch area.

Severe thunderstorms produce damaging winds of 58 mph or higher or destructive hail the size of quarters of larger, the NWS said.

Meanwhile, flood advisories are in effect for Oahu, the island of Maui and Hawaii island through 10:45 a.m., 11 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., respectively.

Radar at 7:41 a.m. showed heavy rain over north Oahu. The highest rates were 1 to 2 inches per hour over the Waianae Range with intense rainfall cores moving rapidly toward the northeast, weather officials said.

On Hawaii island, a winter weather advisory remains in effect for the island’s summits through 6 a.m. Tuesday. Blizzard-like conditions are possible with snow accumulation up to 8 inches and winds gusting as high as 100 mph.

A high wind warning remains in effect for all islands through this afternoon.

High winds wreaked havoc on Oahu overnight, causing numerous power outages across the island.

Hawaiian Electric crews responded to numerous weather-related power outages on Oahu Sunday night through early today, according to spokeswoman Shannon Tangonan.

In Kaneohe, about 8,580 customers suffered an outage due to high winds late Sunday. Crews restored power to Kaneohe customers early today.

Crews also responded to outages in Waianae, Mililani, Kailua and other areas Sunday.

About 1,570 customers in the Hawaii Kai, Kalama Valley and Waimanalo areas suffered a power outage early today due to a downed pole near Kalanianaole Highway and Inoaole Street.

Crews restored power to a majority of the customers by 7:30 a.m. About 410 customers in the area remain without power until crews replace the downed pole.

Kalanianaole Highway near Bellows Air Force Station was also closed this morning due to downed power lines.

In Maui, Hawaiian Electric crews are responding to storm-related outages in parts of Upcountry including Olinda and Piiholo, Kula and Ulupalakua as well as small pockets in the Haiku, Olowalu, Lahaina and Wailuku areas, Tangonan said.

A high wind warning remains in effect for all Hawaiian islands until 6 p.m. today, according to the National Weather Service.

Southwest winds of 25 to 40 miles per hour with localized gusts of up to 60 mph are forecasted especially along the north and east slopes of the mountains.

The weather service warned the public that strong winds may blow down trees and power lines and damage roofs.

A high wind warning for the Haleakala summit is in effect through 6 a.m. Tuesday as southwest winds of 60 to 80 mph and higher gusts are expected. At the Hawaii island summits, the high wind warning is in effect until 6 a.m. Wednesday due to forecasted southwest-to-west winds of 70 to 100 mph and higher gusts.

The storm system led Honolulu officials to partially activated the city’s Emergency Operations Center on Sunday night in anticipation of damaging winds overnight and strong showers and thunderstorms today.

“We are closely tracking the storm and coordinating with the various city, state, and federal officials to help keep the public safe,” Mayor Rick Blangiardi said in a news release late Sunday night. “Because this storm has the potential to disrupt the morning commute, we urge residents to drive with caution. Stay informed of current conditions and download the HNL Info app on their phone to receive important information and alerts.”

The city’s Emergency Operations Center is monitoring the severe weather event and is preparing to respond to support emergency and safety operations on Oahu if needed, officials said.

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