East Hawaii News

Weather Watches Cancelled; Mountains Mantled with Snow

January 30, 2014, 10:10 AM HST
* Updated March 3, 1:21 PM
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***Updated 2:52 p.m.***

The National Weather Service issued a flood advisory this afternoon for the northern part of Ka`u on the Big Island.

The advisory, which is in place until 5:15 p.m., was issued because of heavy rains 34 miles south of Hilo, or seven miles north of Wood Valley.

The heavy rainfall was expected to remain over mostly rural areas of the county, the weather service said.

Forecasters had predicted the possibility of rainfall this afternoon as a result of afternoon convective heating and atmospheric instability offshore.

Posted 10:10 a.m.:

For the first time all week, Big Island residents woke this morning to no National Weather Service warnings dealing with heavy rains and wintry weather.

But while puddles were quickly drying in this morning’s sun, it will take a while for the effects of the latter to diminish.

Mauna Kea was covered by an estimated six-inch mantle of snow dipping down to near the Visitor Information Station at the 9,200-foot elevation.

Snow on the Big Island's tallest summits are clearly visible -- as is the relative absence of clouds -- in this satellite photo taken this morning. NOAA image.

Snow on the Big Island’s tallest summits is clearly visible in this satellite photo taken this morning. NOAA image.

The recorded message by the mountain’s rangers at 6 a.m. said the road to the summit was impassible just above the VIS. It said crews were continuing to clear the roadway and that the message – available at 935-6268 – would be updated during the day as appropriate.

Although the Big Island was under the third straight day of a flash-flood watch, Wednesday’s rainfall eased some.

However, the isle’s rainiest spot of late, Ookala, received another 1.48 inches in the 24-hour period ending at 8 a.m. today, pushing its 72-hour total to 11.08 inches. Nearby Laupahoehoe had 8.76 inches during that period.

The cold front providing much of this week’s moisture helped set two kinds of records in Hilo.

As reported by Big Island Now on Wednesday, the 3.05 inches of rain that fell Tuesday was a record for Jan. 28.

But the chilly air also set a record for the coolest high temperature for that date. The thermometer at Hilo’s airport on Tuesday never rose above 70 degrees, 2 degrees lower than the previous low maximum set in 1966 and tied in 1979, and a whopping 9 degrees below normal for the date.

The record low maximum for the month of January is 68 degrees set twice in the aforementioned cool month in 1979.

But don’t let the sunny skies fool you.

The weather service said there is still some unsettled atmosphere lurking to the east of the Big island which, combined with afternoon heating, raises the likelihood of showers and even the occasional thunderstorm later in the day.

The forecast for Friday through Monday is for partly cloudy and hazy conditions with scattered showers over the Big Island.

Clouds were beginning to accumulate on Mauna Kea this morning in this view from Hilo's Liliuokalani Gardens. Photo by Dave Smith.

Clouds were beginning to gather on Mauna Kea this morning in this view from Hilo’s Liliuokalani Gardens. Photo by Dave Smith.

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