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Dec
02
2011

Hawaii Weather Overview

Light to moderately strong winds,  windward biased showers on the Big Island, Maui, and Kauai…reaching Oahu with time.

PDC Global Hazards Atlas centered on the central Pacific Ocean near Hawaii is displaying 3 hour precipitation accumulations over the last three hours

Hawaiian Weather Synopsis: The rulers of our Hawaiian Island weather picture continue to be a dissipating weak cold front near Kauai…and a weak trough of low pressure near the Big Island. We could call these features bookends, with generally fair weather over most of Maui County, and Oahu early this afternoon. The light to moderately strong trade winds are helping to push both the trough and the frontal cloud band westward. This will carry the frontal showers over Kauai and then away…and the trough’s showers into the state. The showers associated with the trough, light to moderately heavy, had already begun to  arrive on Maui and the Big Island this afternoon. The frontal showers are in the Kauai Channel, pushing across Kauai at the time of this writing. The showers over parts of the eastern islands, will gradually spread westward towards Oahu and Kauai this evening into tonight.

This will leave a nice looking weekend for the Aloha state, which will likely extend into the first half of the upcoming new work week as well. The next cold front in line, as we close in on the beginning of winter here in the tropics, will approach this weekend…although won’t make it to Kauai, much less the rest of the state. This will keep the islands just fine through the next five days, with just the usual passing trade wind borne showers along our north and east windward coasts and slopes. Perhaps, and this is getting pretty far out into the future to count on with very much certainty, could be another windy episode of strong and gusty winds towards the end of next week. This sets us up to continue through the last part of autumn 2011 into early winter…in good shape, which is good news, in contrast to how it could be otherwise. It’s just a matter of time however before our next rain bearing cold front arrives thereafter.

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

Details of Hawaii’s Weather – Wind/Precipitation/Surf

As this weather map shows, we find a very strong 1044 millibar high pressure system located far to the northeast of the Hawaiian Islands Friday afternoon.  This high pressure cell is located offshore from the Strait of Juan de Fuca, between Vancouver Island, BC…and Washington.  At the same time, we see a 1006 millibar gale low pressure system to the north of Hawaii. This low has a frontal cloud band extending from its center south and southwest very near the island of Kauai. Finally, there’s a trough of low pressure near or over the Big Island at the time of this writing.

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

35                 Barking Sands, Kauai – NNE
08                 Kahuku, Oahu – ENE
09                 Molokai – NE
00                 Kahoolawe – E
12                 Lip0a, Maui – NE
00                 Lanai – NE
23                 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 find that high and middle level cloudiness are located over the ocean to the southwest, south, east…extending over most of the state from Oahu down through Maui County and the Big Island. We can use this looping satellite image to see low clouds being carried over the islands on the trade wind flow here and there. At the same time, we find a considerable amount of thunderstorm activity far to our southwest over the ocean, with high cirrus clouds flying off the tops of those clouds in a large swath moving over the state. The weak frontal boundary that reached into the state as far as the Kauai Channel, is falling apart…and moving back up towards the northwest. Checking out this looping radar image we see showers over the ocean, most of which are in the light to moderately heavy category. The most active precipitation areas are coming into the Big Island and Maui’s windward sides…and to the east of Kauai. 

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

0.75               Kilohana, Kauai
1.34               Makaha Stream, Oahu
0.10               Molokai
0.00               Lanai
0.00               Kahoolawe
0.01               Puu Kukui, Maui
0.03               Saddle Quarry, 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:   Surf along the east shores will remain active although smaller Friday and Saturday. The north shores will remain on the large side Friday from the current north-northwest swell Friday….gradually lowering into Saturday. The west sides will be gradually lowering along those beaches as well. South shores will be small…larger than normal for this time of year however.

North shores –  The current north-northwest swell will gradually lowering Friday into the weekend into Monday. The next large northwest swell will arrive Tuesday…remaining active for several days.

West shores –  These beaches will be active as well Friday, gradually dropping down in size into Saturday and beyond. The next large northwest swell will arrive Tuesday…remaining active for several days.

South shores –   Small surf will be rising Friday into the weekend.

East shores –  Surf remaining active with wind swell waves breaking…gradually dropping along with the southeast breezes this weekend into early next week.

NOAA animated wave model

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