Intense “Kona Storm” Strikes Hawaii

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Discussion: East-northeast trade winds dominate the Hawaiian climate. The trade winds keep the climate fairly temperate, unusual heat in Hawaii is rare. The trade winds also bring steady showers to the windward (northeast) side of each island with frequent heavy rains in mountain areas facing northeast while the leeward west and south side of each island is usually quite dry. The climate described dominates Hawaii. Tropical cyclones are rare (although increased frequency in recent years). The big rain-maker in Hawaii is when an upper low pressure trough stalls west-southwest of the islands and flips the wind direction into the southwest. The leeward breeze, given the Polynesian name “Kona wind” brings heavy to extreme rain to the islands especially areas that are normally quite dry. An intensifying Kona Storm has emerged west of Hawaii and will cause widespread flash flooding especially Kauai and Oahu today.