KAILUA-KONA — West Hawaii residents threw an extra blanket on their beds Monday morning as winter settled in, thanks to a cold front passing through the state.
The low Monday morning at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole was 67 degrees, however, higher elevations woke up to a much cooler morning. West Hawaii Today readers on social media reported temperatures of 56 degrees in Holualoa, 54 degrees in Waimea and 60 degrees in Waikoloa.
Lora Robertson, who lives at the 5,600-foot elevation of Kaloko Mauka on Hualalai, woke up to a Monday morning temperature of 45 degrees.
“Thank God for our fireplace and my wood-chopping honey,” said Robertson.
In the Saddle between Mauna Loa and Maunakea, Mike Donnelly, Pohakuloa Training Area public affairs officer, said it was a chilly 33 degrees Monday morning as Marines and soldiers arrived for training, wearing their cold weather gear.
Derek Wroe, a Honolulu-based meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the islands’ weather is currently being influenced by a deep low-pressure system centered several hundred miles northeast of the state and a surface ridge several hundred miles to the northwest.
The result, he explained, is breezy to gusty conditions with Kona winds flowing from the north-northeast. Rainfall has been, and will remain, scant due to the rather dry air mass over the state. The conditions prompted a wind advisory for some Big Island areas and a wind warning for the summits through early this morning.
On Monday, Keahole Point in North Kona saw sustained winds of 30 mph with gusts topping 40 mph.
Even though daily high temperatures have been struggling to reach 80 degrees in most West Hawaii locations, this is only a couple of degrees below normal for late January in Kona, Wroe said.
“It feels cold but the temperatures are not much lower than normal,” said Wroe. “Between the dryness in the air and the wind, it affects your comfort level.”
Wroe said winds should back off today to 20-25 mph with normal trade winds returning by Thursday. The dew point should be rising today, bringing back that warm Hawaiian feeling.
Meanwhile, be happy you live Hawaii.
The high tonight in Chicago is expected to reach a balmy 18 degrees below zero and in International Falls, Minnesota, people will need 10 extra blankets as temperatures are expected to be around 29 degrees below zero. Brrr.