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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…a few passing windward showers at times.

PDC Global Hazards Atlas displaying the north central Pacific, focused on the Hawaiian Islands...with 3 hour precipitiation accumulation

Hawaiian Weather Synopsis:  The trade winds, which have been blustery most of this month, aren’t calming down just yet, although are expected to begin that process soon. We find winds gusting up between 40-45 mph in several places across Maui County and the Big Island Thursday afternoon. A long lasting high pressure system to our northeast, is spinning out these gusty trades across the tropical latitudes of the north central Pacific. There will be some changes taking place far to our north soon, up near the Gulf of Alaska. A couple of deep winter storms will be rolling by up there…which will in the process help to calm our local winds down quite a bit here locally, especially by later this weekend into early next week. The latest computer forecast models are suggesting that we could see the trade winds pick up their pace again after the middle of next week, in the wake of a possible cold front then.

As far as rainfall goes, there won’t be much of that, even on the windward sides…for a change. The overlying atmosphere remains dry and stable again today, so that last weeks wet weather has totally dried up. This leaves the leeward sides without any showers, with just a few random light showers elsewhere. This dry reality will remain in place through the rest of the year, into the first couple of days of 2012 as well. As the winds lighten up this weekend, we’re apt to see daytime sea breezes. This in turn will prompt some afternoon clouds around the mountains…after clear and somewhat cooler than normal early mornings. The cold front for the middle of next week shouldn’t make too much of a splash, with the chance of increasing showers riding in on the returning trade winds in the wake of the front.

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 1030 millibar high pressure system to the east-northeast of the Hawaiian Islands Thursday afternoon.  This high pressure cell is well offshore from southern California, with a 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 to near the International Dateline. 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 the rest of this last week of the year, becoming generally lighter into the first few days of 2012.

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

24                 Port Allen, Kauai – ENE
35                 Kahuku, Oahu – ESE
33                 Molokai – NE
45                 Kahoolawe – ENE
36                 Kahului, Maui – NE
40                 Lanai – NE
44                 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 Thursday afternoon.Looking at this NOAA satellite picture we see areas of  low level clouds upwind of the islands, which are generally dissipating as they move over the islands. The leeward sides remain generally clear with lots of late December sunshine. We can use this looping satellite image to see towering cumulus and thunderstorms developing over the ocean far to the southwest and east-southeast of the islands. High cirrus clouds are evident to our north…moving along from generally west to east. At the same time, we plumes of lower level clouds extending off the leeward sides of all the islands…at the time of this writing. Checking out this looping radar image we see just a few showers over the ocean, all of which are light…coming into our windward sides at times.

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

0.36               Mount Waialeale, Kauai
0.06               Oahu Forest NWR, Oahu
0.04               Molokai
0.00               Lanai
0.00               Kahoolawe
0.60               Puu Kukui, Maui
0.79               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:  The north shores will be coming back up Thursday, remaining that way into Friday. The west sides will be rising again Thursday into Friday as well. Surf along the east shores will remain rough and choppy…although starting to diminish slowly along with gradually lighter trade winds. South shores will be very small to small locally Thursday and Friday.  

North shores –   Thursday will find the surf coming up from the northwest again for several days..gradually lowering into the first part of the holiday weekend. A second northwest swell will arrive Sunday, and then a third early in 2012.

West shores –   A new NW swell will arrive early today, lasting for several days although lowering into Saturday, then up again Sunday and again next Tuesday.

South shores –  Surf will be very small to small on these leeward shores for a few days. 

East shores –   Wind swell continues…rough and choppy…gradually smoothing out and lowering into the weekend and beyond.

NOAA animated wave model