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Nov
18
2011

Hawaii Weather Overview


Hawaiian Weather Synopsis: 
As has been the case for the last several days, our skies have been over run by clouds, the most prominent of which consists of those that arrive in the high and middle levels of the atmosphere. As I mentioned yesterday, these are called cirrostratus and altocumulus. These clouds are known for their sun filtering, and also their ability to light up the sky colorfully during sunrise and sunsets. A low pressure system to our west, which is now in the process of departing, has helped to transport these two types of clouds over us from the deep tropics south and southwest of our chain of islands.

There have been some showers falling, not from the clouds mentioned above, but from lower level clouds, those rain bearing cumulus and stratoform clouds lower in the air mass. This precipitation hasn’t been all that impressive, although a few places on Kauai and the Big Island have seen some locally generous rainfall totals. There’s been the chance of some light snow atop those two tall summits on the Big Island as well, although at this point, according to this webcam, nothing white is sticking on Mauna Kea yet. The chance for some snow up high, and rain down low remains in our weather picture as we move into the upcoming weekend…and beyond.

The trade winds continue to blow, and as a matter of fact, are becoming quite strong and gusty now. This has been anticipated, thus the continuance of the small craft wind advisory over those windiest coastal and channel waters around Maui County and the Big Island. There were several gusts over 30 mph early this afternoon, with the top gust reaching 36 mph on the small island of Kahoolawe. We’ll continue to see these rather strong gusts right on into the weekend, perhaps trying to stretch up to almost 40 mph in our windiest areas. The trade wind will continue right on into the new Thanksgiving holiday weekend ahead.

PDC Global Hazards Atlas centered on the central Pacific Ocean near Hawaii is displaying precipitation accumulation over the last three hours

Click on the following link for the latest National Weather Service advisories and warnings: Wind/Surf/Flood related advisories or warnings

Broad Overview of Hawaii’s Weather

As this weather map shows, we find a 1032 millibar high pressure system located to the northeast of the Hawaiian Islands Friday afternoon.  At the same time, there’s a 1027 millibar low pressure system parked far to the north of Hawaii. There’s a short cold front that’s associated with this low pressure center, along with a trough of low pressure over the ocean far west of the islands. Our trade winds will build in strength today, which will remain strong and gusty into next week.

The following numbers represent the strongest wind gusts (mph), along with directions early Friday afternoon:

29                 Port Allen, Kauai – ENE
35                 Kahuku, Oahu – NE
30                 Molokai – NE
36                 Kahoolawe – E
30                 Kahului, Maui – NE
00                 Lanai
35                 South Point, Big Island – NE

We can use the following links to see what’s going on in our area of the north central Pacific Ocean early Friday afternoon. Looking at this NOAA satellite picture we still can’t see any lower level clouds, due to the incredible amount of high and middle level cloudiness being carried overhead from the west and southwest. We can use this looping satellite image to see a counterclockwise rotating low pressure system well west of Kauai. This low continues to spew considerable amounts of high and middle level clouds over our island chain. Checking out this looping radar image we see  showers falling locally over the ocean, most of which are light to moderately heavy, although a few are heavier to the southwest of Kauai too. Most of this precipitation remains offshore, although some is bringing showers to the islands in places too.

Here are the 24-hour precipitation totals (inches) for each of the islands as of late Friday morning:

1.96               Mount Waialeale, Kauai
0.34               Oahu Forest NWR, Oahu
0.00               Molokai
0.00               Lanai
0.00               Kahoolawe
0.08               Puu Kukui, Maui
0.75               Kawainui Stream, Big Island

Here is the latest NWS rainfall forecast

Here are the latest available satellite images:

Hawaii Infrared satellite image
Animated Satellite image of Hawaii region
Latest satellite image – Close-in visible satellite view
Latest radar image – Looping

SURF OUTLOOK:    Small conditions on all shores today, increasing some on the east shores as the trade wind speeds increase over the next several days. The north, west and south shores will be flat to very small through the first part of the weekend.

North shores –   Very small surf through Saturday, with a small north swell arriving early Sunday, turning northwest Monday…lasting into mid-week. A larger northwest swell will arrive during the second half of next week, lasting into next weekend.

West shores –     Very small to flat surf…with a minor bump from the new northwest swell locally on Monday…lasting a few days. These beaches will find larger waves arriving later next week, as a new larger NW swell arrives into the weekend.

South shores –    Small to very small surf…locally flat into early next week at least

East shores –   Small surf picking up as the new surge of trade winds continues into this weekend…on into next week. Conditions will be rough and choppy due the gusty trade wind flow.

NOAA animated wave model