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High winds, chance of flooding expected to continue today

Updated: 
October 24, 2017 - 12:05am

HILO — Hawaii Island could experience flooding and high winds today, the National Weather Service in Honolulu advised.

A flash flood watch was issued by the weather service Monday and is expected to run through this afternoon.

“The flash flood watch is mainly due to this area of showers ahead of a front,” said NWS meteorologist Matthew Foster.

The front was over Kauai and Oahu on Monday and was expected to move eastward into today. As it does, the rain will spread before the front stalls over the Big Island. Heavy rain and thunderstorms could become widespread, causing streams to overflow their banks and lead to flash flooding.

Foster added that high winds will accompany the front because of an upper trough.

“That’s going to cause those stronger winds aloft,” he said.

Hawaii Island’s topography will make locations with the heaviest rainfall variable, with flooding risk dependent upon where the most rain falls.

“It’s going to vary quite a bit,” Foster said. “It could come down in bursts.”

A high wind warning also was issued for Big Island summits until 6 p.m. today.

The NWS says strong southwest winds aloft associated with the passing upper level trough will create conditions suitable for winds of 40-60 mph on the summits. The weather service says travel to the summits is not advised until winds subside, with winds forecast to trend down by midweek as the trough lifts away from the area.

Precipitation at the island’s highest points, however, is a different story.

“There will be a small chance of snow on the summits,” Foster said. “But I’m not sold on that. I don’t think we’re going to have winter highlights — but there’s a small chance.”

A small craft advisory also was issued for 6 a.m. today through 6 p.m. Wednesday, with a building northwest swell expected to bring seas of 7-11 feet to the windward side of the Big Island.

Email Jeff Hansel at jhansel@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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