Flash flood watch canceled for East Hawai‘i

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Updated at 3:39 p.m. on Feb. 19: The flash flood watch has been canceled.

Updated at 11:13 a.m. on Feb. 19: The two emergency shelters in Kaʻū, located at the Nāʻālehu Community Center and the Robert Herkes Gymnasium in Pāhala, have been closed as of 8:30 a.m. this morning. There are no open shelters at this time.

According to current weather forecasts, the County of Hawaiʻi is projected to be out of a flood watch by 6 p.m. Moisture is still expected through the long weekend, and motorists must proceed cautiously.

Additionally, all road closures relating to rain inundation have been lifted, with no active closures at this time.

The Waipiʻo Valley Access Road will reopen to Hawaiʻi residents at 6 p.m., as the flood watch is lifted. If the Flood Watch is not lifted, the road will remain closed to valley residents and farmers only.

Officials will continue to monitor the situation and update the public as necessary.


The public can access information in real-time on the County of Hawaiʻi Civil Defense Hazard Map ( or via the County’s mobile application, Kāhea, which is available on both Android and iPhone.

Updated at 8:15 a.m. on Feb. 19: Hawai‘i Police Department advises that Māmalahoa Highway (Route 11) in the area of Kawa Bay in Ka‘ū is open. Ka‘alaiki and Wood Valley Roads remain closed at this time.

Original post: A flash flood warning for East Hawai‘i came to an end early this morning, however, a flood watch remains in place islandwide till this afternoon. Additionally, a winter storm warning remains in place for Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa summits till this afternoon.

Over the course of Friday and Saturday, a low-pressure system moved over the southwest of the Hawaiian Islands and hit the Big Island causing power outages, downed trees, washed out bridges and dumped a whole lot of rain on the eastern half of the Big Island, resulting in life-threatening flash flooding in some areas.

Liam Tsamous, meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said East Hawai‘i will keep getting rain, but not as much as Saturday. Approximately 11 inches in Hilo fell on Saturday alone. Well over 10 inches of rain was reported in several areas of East Hawai‘i.


Tsamous said conditions should get dryer as the storm moves south and out into the ocean.

Another low pressure storm is expected to come through Tuesday or Wednesday. Tsamous said this weather event won’t be a direct hit and will produce rain for the western half of the state.

As conditions have improved, Highway 11 at Kawa Flats in Ka‘ū near the 60 Mile Marker is reopened in both directions. Roads that remain closed at this time are as follows;

  • In Ka‘ū District – Upper Cane Haul Road (Ka‘alahiki) between Pahala and Nā‘ālehu, and Wood Valley Road.
  • In Hilo District – Old Māmalahoa Highway near Honomu.

Waipi‘o Valley Access Road remains closed to everyone except Waipi‘o Valley residents and farmers. The Hele-on Park & Ride pick-up location in Hilo will continue to be at Kuawa Street through Monday.

A flash flood warning has been in place all weekend, however, it ended at 1 a.m. The National Weather Service issued a flood watch through this afternoon as flash flooding is still a risk due to the excessive excessive rainfall on saturated soil.


Reports of flooding have occurred primarily in the Ka‘ū District. Residents are advised to stay off flooded moisture will continue to stream over the Big Island through Monday. Temperatures at summit level will remain near or below freezing and a mix of heavy snow and freezing rainbwill persist through at least noon today. roadways.

If you sustained damage to your property caused by rain and flooding, visit the Hawai‘i County Civil Defense website Request for Damage Assessment link here.

The winter warning continues on the Big Island summits as a deep layer of moisture will continue to stream over the Big Island through Monday. Temperatures at summit level will remain near or below freezing and a mix of heavy snow and freezing rain will persist through at least noon today.

Additional snow accumulations of two to four inches are expected as well as light ice accumulations. Winds gusting as high as 45 mph are expected.

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