Kona Storm Slams Hawaii!

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The Hawaiian Islands brace for a rare “Kona Storm” this week. An intense storm has become quasi-stationary west-northwest of the islands and caused surface wind across Hawaii to turn into the southwest. A southwest wind in Hawaii is rare and known as a leeward or “Kona” wind. Coupled with the unstable atmosphere associated with the upper trough, the moist southwest wind leads to frequent wind squalls, life-threatening flooding rainfall and even heavy snow in the highest mountains.

Highlight: Kona Storm Slams Hawaii!

Fig. 1: NOAA/NWS weather watch, warning and advisory areas across Hawaii.

Discussion: The Hawaiian Islands brace for a rare “Kona Storm” this week. An intense storm has become quasi-stationary west-northwest of the islands and caused surface wind across Hawaii to turn into the southwest. A southwest wind in Hawaii is rare and known as a leeward or “Kona” wind. Coupled with the unstable atmosphere associated with the upper trough, the moist southwest wind leads to frequent wind squalls, life-threatening flooding rainfall and even heavy snow in the highest mountains. Currently, the axis of heaviest rain is across Molokai and Maui where Flash Flood Warnings are issued. All of the islands are experiencing gusty southwest wind. A Blizzard Warning is issued across the summit of Mona Kea and Mona Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii. The “Kona Storm” fades late this week.

Fig. 2: Satellite view of a Hawaiian Island “Kona Storm”.

Fig. 3: ECM 5-day rainfall forecast indicates 10+ in. for some parts of Hawaii.