Stormy weather could persist through weekend

  • Flash flooding causes puddling along Highway 11 Thursday in Hilo. (HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald)

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald Umbrella-equipped walkers brave the rain Thursday in downtown Hilo.

HILO — It was a overcast and stormy Thursday in Hilo, with periods of heavy rains and occasional booming bouts of thunder and lightning — weather patterns that will likely continue in the coming days, forecasters said.

Melissa Dye, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Honolulu, said there is an “upper low” weather system, or a low-pressure system in the upper levels of the atmosphere, perched near the state that’s causing atmospheric instability.

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That means “we can continue to see heavy rain through Friday and Saturday.”

By 3:30 p.m. Thursday, 2.3 inches of rain were measured in Hilo over the previous 24 hours, according to Dye.

“There is still that flash flood watch that does go through (tonight), so definitely rain is not over quite yet,” she said.

Although the activity will largely focus on windward areas, with strong tradewinds in place, heavy showers and thunderstorms also are possible across leeward areas of the island, according to the NWS.

During a flash flood watch, motorists are urged to drive with caution as road closures can occur without notice, and should not cross fast-moving water.

A high surf advisory is also in place for east-facing shores through 6 p.m. Sunday, and a wind advisory is in place for the South Kohala District through 6 a.m. today.

The NWS also has issued a winter weather advisory for Big Island summits above 11,500 feet, which include the summits of Maunakea and Mauna Loa, which is in effect until 6 a.m. Saturday.

Light snow had already fallen at the summit of Maunakea Thursday, and according to the advisory, 1-3 inches of snow is expected.

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The Maunakea summit access road was closed Thursday afternoon at the 9,200 feet elevation due to high humidity, fog, freezing temperatures, snow and icy road conditions.

Email Stephanie Salmons at ssalmons@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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