East Hawaii News

Big Island Escapes Most of Wali’s Wrath

July 21, 2014, 2:10 PM HST
* Updated July 21, 2:21 PM
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Despite it being the first land encountered, the Big Island this past weekend largely escaped the wrath of the storm once known as Wali.

Oahu, on the other hand, got hammered with torrential rains and flooding.

Hawaii residents first became aware of Wali last Thursday when it formed as tropical depression One-C. As its winds strengthened late that day, it reached tropical storm status and became the first named storm of the 2014 hurricane season.

However, as it moved within 800 miles of the Big Island it began to break apart from the effects of vertical wind shear, and was downgraded back to a depression late Friday morning.

But the National Weather Service warned that the system was still carrying a heavy load of moisture and put the entire state on a flash-flood watch.

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But when Saturday night arrived, Wali was a relative no-show on the Big Island, although some areas on the windward side saw a few heavy showers.

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The weather service’s gauge in Glenwood recorded the most, with 2.09 inches in the 12-hour period ending at 8 a.m. Sunday.

But Oahu was another story altogether.

Four gauges on its windward side showed more than 13 inches over that same period, including 13.84 inches at the one at Kahana.

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Meteorologist Derek Wroe said the difference was a low-pressure trough sitting near Kauai.

Though it was independent of Wali, the joining of the two resulted in the heavy downpours on Oahu, Wroe said.

“The two things just came together,” he said. “Big Island was just a little bit further to the east.”

Although Wali’s moisture has now moved west of the state some of the instability is lingering, which could cause some rainfall with a slight chance of thunderstorms this afternoon.

Typical trade wind weather — partly cloudy conditions with scattered showers — is expected to return by Wednesday.

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