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Nov
22
2011

Hawaii Weather Overview


Hawaiian Weather Synopsis: 
We’re finding a nice sunny day for a change, as the recent bout of high and middle level clouds have finally slid away. We may see these clouds return in a couple of days, although for the moment sunshine is beaming down nicely. We had an area of showers wet the windward sides last night, although they have cleared the state, and thus the generally clear skies for the moment. Those showers last night didn’t bring all that much rainfall, although there were several of those most shower prone windward locations that received 1.00″+ totals…with a 2.00″ accumulation in the Koolau Mountains on Oahu as a top figure.

Speaking a bit more about precipitation going forward, Wednesday will remain quite pleasant, as will Thanksgiving Day through Friday. The next scheduled frontal boundary will arrive Saturday morning on Kauai, and slide down through the island chain, or at least partially so. This isn’t expected to be all that big a deal, although showers will arrive. As we move into Saturday night, considerably drier and cooler air will flood in behind the cold front. Sunday should be a decent day, although perhaps feel slightly cooler than it has been lately.  This drier and slightly cooler air may present us with a fire danger, as the trade winds will be blustery then into early next week.

Speaking of the winds, they will rush in behind the cold front this weekend, and may push ahead of the leading edge of the front as early as Friday night. A new high pressure system to our north will be the source of these strengthening trade winds this weekend. The current small craft advisories south of Oahu may last into mid-week, although could be dropped on the Thanksgiving holiday and Friday. It looks very likely that the trade winds will be strong and gusty enough by the weekend, that small craft wind advisories will definitely be needed, perhaps even beyond those typically windiest Maui County and Big Island locations. These winds will stick around into early next week at least.

As I was mentioning here yesterday, we have a very strong hurricane occurring in the eastern Pacific, at least for so late in the hurricane season. Hurricane Kenneth is being rated as a category 4 hurricane, which is quite rare even during the heart of our hurricane season. It being so late in the year, with only eight more days until the end point of the season, November 30…this is being called a rare occurrence. Sustained winds were 145 mph, with gusts up to near 175 mph! This hurricane is the strongest late season hurricane in the eastern Pacific since records began back in the 1800’s! Despite the very impressive power that this hurricane is wielding over the Pacific, the fortunate thing is that no islands or land masses are being effected.

 

PDC Global Hazards Atlas centered on the central Pacific Ocean near Hawaii is displaying precipitation accumulation over the last three hours...along with category 4 hurricane Kenneth far to the east

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 1026 millibar high pressure system located to the east-northeast of the Hawaiian Islands, with a second 1026 millibar high pressure cell to our northwest Tuesday afternoon.  At the same time, there’s a trough of low pressure far out to the west of Hawaii.  Our trade winds remain strong and gusty, and will remain so into mid-week. The computer models continue to suggest that our local trades will decrease on Thanksgiving Day into Friday. They go on to tell us that our strong and gusty trade winds will ride in behind a cold front this weekend…into early next week.

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

22                 Port Allen, Kauai, Kauai – ENE
37                 Waianae Valley, Oahu – SE
31                 Molokai – NNE
32                 Kahoolawe – E
36                 Kahului, Maui – NE
31                 Lanai
33                 Upolu 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 Tuesday afternoon. Looking at this NOAA satellite picture we find that high and middle level cloudiness is still located to the south of the state, leaving the state nice and sunny for change this afternoon. We can use this looping satellite image to see low clouds being carried westward in the gusty trade wind flow. Checking out this looping radar image we see  showers falling locally over the ocean, although last nights windward biased showers have backed way off today. We see another round of showers arriving along those windward coasts and slopes tonight.

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

1.17               Mount Waialeale, Kauai
2.00               Manoa-Kanewai, Oahu
0.10               Molokai
0.00               Lanai
0.00               Kahoolawe
0.43               Puu Kukui, Maui
0.54               Kealakekua, 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:    Rough surf east shores as the trade wind speeds remain active. The north shores will remain active Tuesday and Wednesday. The west sides will get a bit larger, and south shores will be small to very small through mid-week.

North shores –   Several small north to northwest swells will keep our surf breaking through the rest of this week. A larger north-northwest swell arriving during the second half of the weekend…into early next week.

West shores –     These beaches will be active when small northwest swells arrive this week.

South shores –    Small to very small surf through the week.

East shores –   Surf remaining rough and active, as the trade winds continue. Conditions will be rough and choppy with wind swell.

NOAA animated wave model