East Hawaii News

UPDATE: Storm Not Yet Done With Big Island

December 30, 2013, 11:15 AM HST
* Updated December 31, 12:04 AM
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***Updated 12:02 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31.***

The National Weather Service extended the flash-flood warning for the Big Island to at least 2 a.m.

The area covered by the warning extended from Waipio Valley to Puna, including the Hamakua coast and Hilo.

Posted 5:57 p.m.:

A resurgence of thundershowers over the Hilo and Hamakua areas late this afternoon prompted the National Weather Service to reinstate a flash-flood warning for thos portions of the Big Island.

The warning posted at 5:15 p.m. was to be in effect until at least 8:15 p.m.

Another landslide on Route 190 shortly after 5 p.m, this one in Kaawalii Gulch, forced more traffic delays.

The weather service’s 5 p.m. report showed that the gauge in Honokaa recorded 1.86 inches of rain in the prior three hours.

This satellite photo, taken at 4:45 p.m., shows the uplift in the towering clouds producing the thunderstorms. NOAA image.

This satellite photo taken at 4:45 p.m. showed the towering clouds producing the thunderstorms. NOAA image.

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The gauge in Ookala had recorded 10.27 inches in the 24-hour period ending at 5 p.m. Both Hilo and Pahoa received more than 7 inches during that period.

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Meanwhile, the weather service also issued a flash flood advisory for a broad section of Kona after radar showed heavy rain falling over Honaunau and Kealakekua at rates of more than two inches per hour. The areas covered by the advisory included Kealakekua to north of Keahole Point.

The weather service said the stormy weather is the result of moisture from a dissipating front pooled over the Big Island. The ultimate cause, a low-pressure trough located to the east, was moving slowly away from the isle.

Forecasters had previously predicted that it would ease by the end of the day, but the 5:25 p.m. forecast said that heavy showers and thunderstorms were likely through the evening. Tuesday’s forecast was for cloudy skies and scattered showers.

Updated 12:53 p.m.:

The Civil Defense Agency said both lanes of Route 19 through Hamakua are now open.

Updated 12:34 p.m.:

The National Weather Service has put the Big Island on a flash-flood watch until 6 p.m.

Forecasters said lingering unstable atmospheric conditions are likely to produce locally heavy showers and thunderstorms which could contribute to flooding because of already saturated ground.

Posted at 11:15 a.m.:

A National Weather Service said the flash-flood warning in effect this morning could be downgraded to an advisory by noon, but heavy rains and thunderstorms remained a possibility throughout the day.

Meteorologist Matt Foster said the low-pressure trough causing the moisture was slowly moving off to the east and taking the wet weather with it.

Trade winds were expected to return tonight to Hilo and surrounding areas, although moisture and other atmospheric conditions could turn showers heavy at times.

While most areas of West Hawaii dodged the past day’s heavy rains, afternoon heating, combined with the moisture in the unstable atmosphere could combine for a few thundershowers there this afternoon, Foster said.

Drier conditions are expected to prevail for Tuesday and New Year’s Day over the entire island, the weather service said.

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