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Hawaii Weather Overview

Trade winds will remain quite gusty, reaching up between 30 to 40 mph in those windiest areas today, gradually calming down through the rest of this last week of 2011…passing windward showers at times.

PDC Global Hazards Atlas displaying clouds and 3 hour accumulated rainfall...over the north central Pacific Ocean

Hawaiian Weather Synopsis:   The trade winds are getting towards the end of their long lasting windy regime. The winds are still well up into the 30+ mph range, with the Kaupo Gap on Maui…just topping the 40 mph mark. These winds are still rather gusty, although not as strong as what we’ve seen the last couple of weeks or so. We’re likely to see a stepping down of our trade wind speeds over the next several days, as they mellow out into the light to almost moderately strong range during the upcoming New Year’s holiday weekend. The forecast models suggest that they may become even lighter than that as we move into the first day or two of 2012.

The overlying atmosphere is pretty dry and stable at this time, which is limiting our shower activity. As this satellite image shows, there are quite a number of clouds upstream of the windward sides. As noted above however, the winds will gradually be letting up, and with the dry air mass over us, showers will be limited…even on the normally moist windward sides. These north and east facing coasts and slopes have definitely been wet, or at least have been lately from Oahu down through Maui and the Big Island lately. There’s no indication of any major changes back towards the wet side of things through the rest of 2011.

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 have a near 1033 millibar high pressure system far to the east-northeast of the Hawaiian Islands Wednesday afternoon.  This high pressure cell is well offshore from San Diego, California, with a very long ridge of high pressure extending west-southwest from its center. This ridge runs by the Hawaiian Islands, up around 27 degrees north latitude, and then further west across the International Dateline…into the western Pacific. The location of this high pressure ridge is keeping our very long lasting strong and gusty trade winds blowing across Hawaii. There’s forecast to be a gradual reduction in our wind speeds as we move through this last week of the year, becoming generally lighter into early next week.

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

30                 Waimea Heights, Kauai – E
31                 Kahuku, Oahu – NE
32                 Molokai – NE
32                 Kahoolawe – ENE
42                 Kaupo Gap, Maui – NE
29                 Lanai – NE
37                 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 Wednesday afternoon.Looking at this NOAA satellite picture we see areas of  low level clouds coming into our windward sides at the time of this writing…generally light stuff however. We can use this looping satellite image to see towering cumulus and thunderstorms developing over the ocean far of the Big Island. High cirrus clouds are evident to our northeast through northwest…as well as to our southwest and south. Checking out this looping radar image we see showers over the ocean, most of which are light to moderately heavy, coming into our windward sides, most notably on the Big Island and east Maui.

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

0.32               Mount Waialeale, Kauai
0.19               Oahu Forest NWR, Oahu
0.00               Molokai
0.00               Lanai
0.00               Kahoolawe
0.05               Puu Kukui, Maui
0.40               Kahua Ranch, 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:    The north shores will be lowering today…then coming back up Thursday. The west sides will be dropping through mid-week as well…then rising again Thursday. Surf along the east shores will remain rough and choppy both days…although starting to smooth out slowly. South shores will be very small to small locally Wednesday and Thursday.

North shores –  Surf will be lower today. Thursday will find the surf coming up from the west to northwest again for several days…into the weekend.

West shores –   Surf lowering…with a new NW to West swell arriving early Thursday, lasting for several days.

South shores –  Surf will be very small to small on these leeward shores for a few days. Those beaches that catch some of the new west swell around Thursday, could come up then locally 

East shores –   Wind swell continues…rough and choppy, gradually lowering through the rest of this week

NOAA animated wave model