East Hawaii News

UPDATE: Flash Flood Watch Extended Through Saturday Afternoon

February 21, 2013, 5:20 PM HST
* Updated February 23, 7:10 AM
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***Updated 5:45 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22.***

The National Weather Service this afternoon extended the flash flood watch for Maui and the Big Island through Saturday afternoon.

Meanwhile, heavy rain continued at times over windward sections of the Big Island, with the most falling in the Hilo area.

From 2 p.m. Thursday to 2 p.m. today the weather service recorded 8.10 inches of rain at Hilo’s airport, 6.81 inches in Waiakea Uka and 5.13 inches in Piihonua.

Puna’s totals were slightly less with 6.23 inches in Mountain View, 6.15 inches in Pahoa and 4.81 inches in Glenwood.

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Laupahoehoe was the wettest area along the Hamakua coast with 3.16 inches during that period.

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As it had been earlier in the day, leeward sections of the Big Island were seeing almost no rainfall. Only a trace was recorded in either North or South Kona, with that occurring at the airport at Keahole.

The heaviest rainfall in the state over the past 24 hours occurred at Pu`u Kukui, the 5,787-foot peak in the West Maui mountains, where 8.96 inches was recorded.

The flash flood watch means drivers should be careful of ponding on roadways as well as poor visibility and reduced braking power.

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The downpours are the result of an unstable air mass over the Big Island combining with water vapor streaming in from the east.

Mainly windward slopes of Maui and the Big Island are being affected.

Snow on Mauna Kea as seen this morning from Waimea. Photo courtesy of Camille Kalahiki.

Snow on Mauna Kea as seen this morning from Waimea. Photo courtesy of Camille Kalahiki.

The inclement weather has prompted the postponement of the University of Hawaii at Hilo Ocean Day Malama Kanaloa Festival scheduled for Saturday at Hilo’s Bayfront Park. The event has been rescheduled for Sunday, April 21.

Meanwhile, a winter storm warning for the summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa has been extended until 6 a.m. Saturday.

Temperatures there early this morning ranged from the upper-20s to the mid-30s, the weather service said.

The Mauna Kea Weather Center reported that the Mauna Kea Access Road remained closed at the Visitor Information Station located at the 9,200-foot elevation due to very hazardous driving conditions. Those included ice and light snow on the road and reduced visibility due to fog.

***Previously updated at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 22.***

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