Alert: Forecasters Warn of Flooding as Kona Low Takes Aim at Hawaii

Alert: Forecasters Warn of Flooding as Kona Low Takes Aim at Hawaii

This week, Hawaii’s renowned sunlight is taking a vacation of its own as a days-long stormy pattern forms just off the tropical islands, posing a risk of intense rain and intermittent flash flooding at the end of the week.

In their Tuesday morning forecast discussion, Honolulu National Weather Service forecasters said, “The (forecast) model guidance for this week looks anything typical of mid-May for Hawaii, to say the least.”

It is predicted that a Kona Low, which is forming roughly 600 miles north of the islands, would intensify and linger just offshore for several days.

“Leeward” in Hawaiian refers to the side that is protected from the usual northeasterly trade winds, and this is where the word “Kona” originates.

Kona Lows are problematic because they bring heavy rain to the generally wind- and rain-shadowed leeward parts of the islands when the winds reversal from the ordinary trade winds.

Here, too, that will be the situation. The winds have shifted to the south, but this Kona Low will remain far from the islands.

In the meantime, the Kona Low has plenty of nearby fuel to pull over Hawaii and intensify rainfall because of a big area of deep, tropical moisture that is located directly south of the islands. In Honolulu and Lihue, dew points had already surpassed 70 degrees, signifying a plenty of tropical moisture.

Through at least the end of the week, the combination will increase the likelihood of extended periods of heavy rain and thunderstorms.

All of the Hawaiian Islands are under a flood watch through Friday night. The worst of the rain is predicted to fall on Oahu and Maui on Wednesday night, gradually moving westward to Kauai by later on Friday.

Rainfall in the southern part of Oahu is expected to be between three and five inches, with higher amounts along the shorelines.

The NWS issued a warning, stating that highways in a number of locations would be closed and that substantial flooding might result from streams and drainages overflowing. severe cities, runoff can also result severe property damage.

“Landslides may also occur in areas with steep terrain,” the NWS stated.

Hawaii has already had an exceptionally rainy week.

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A slow-moving storm system that brushed the islands over the weekend brought even winter storm conditions to the mountain peaks of the Big Island, prompting the posting of flood watches and warnings throughout the islands.

Flash Flood Warnings were in place for eastern Oahu even on Monday, ahead of the Kona Low, due to a severe thunderstorm that brought with it two inches of rain per hour and some localized flooding.

A rain gauge at St. Stephens Seminary near Kailua recorded more than eight inches of rain in the last 72 hours, while another gauge at a higher elevation on the island recorded more than eight inches in three days.

Over 9 inches had been recorded in 72 hours on a gauge in Kaneohe, although 5.01 inches had been recorded for the same period at the Marine Corps facility in Kaneohe.

The NWS said that although the flood warnings issued on Wednesday are now set to expire on Friday night, the wet pattern may persist into the weekend.

Reference