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Hawaii Weather Overview

Trade winds are finally retreating now, although won’t go completely away this weekend. Dry conditions will limit showers everywhere…with only a few light ones here and there through the weekend. Happy New Year everyone!

* Hawaii Weather Overviews will no longer be issued on a daily basis, but rather only through Special Weather Summaries when threatening weather approaches or impacts the state.

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 will finally ease up, and have begun that process in earnest today. The exceptionally long lasting and extra strong trade winds, will slip back into the light to almost moderately strong category through the first couple of days of the new year ahead. The lightest winds over the next week should occur today through most of Saturday, and then again on Monday into Tuesday. The trade winds will return more fully by mid-week, and remain in place through most of the rest of next week.

As far as rainfall goes, there won’t be much of that, and the windward sides will receive the bulk of whatever few showers that are around. The overlying atmosphere remains dry and stable now. This leaves the leeward sides without any showers, and dry, dry, dry. This reality will remain in place through these last few days of the year, into the first couple of days of 2012 as well. The latest thoughts have a cold front approaching the islands by Tuesday or so, although it will likely stall before arriving. The trade winds will strengthen some by the middle of next week, with the chance of increasing showers riding in along the windward sides then.

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 Friday afternoon.  This high pressure cell has 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 the International Dateline. The location of this high pressure ridge has been weakened to low pressure centers far to the north and northwest. Light trade winds will remain in place this weekend, becoming more moderately strong by the middle of next week.

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

16                 Port Allen, Kauai – E
16                 Kahuku, Oahu – ENE
10                 Molokai – NNE
00                 Kahoolawe
16                 Lipoa, Maui – NE
07                 Lanai
24                South Point, Big Island – E

We can use the following links to see what’s going on in our area of the north central Pacific Ocean Friday afternoon.  Looking at this NOAA satellite picture we see areas of  low level clouds upwind of the islands, being carried towards the windward sides on the softer trade wind flow. The leeward sides are clear to cloudy, depending upon how far the clouds are coming off the mountains this afternoon. 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…associated with an upper level low pressure system. High cirrus clouds are evident to our north and northeast…moving along from west to east. At the same time, we plumes of lower level clouds extending off the leeward sides of the Big Island…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 Friday morning:

0.23               Mount Waialeale, Kauai
0.21               Oahu Forest NWR, Oahu
0.00               Molokai
0.00               Lanai
0.00               Kahoolawe
0.01               Puu Kukui, Maui
0.03               Pahoa, 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 down today into Saturday. The west sides will be lowering again into Saturday as well. Surf along the east shores will remain rough and choppy…although smoothing out along with gradually lighter trade winds into Saturday. South shores will be very small to small locally into Saturday.

North shores –  This afternoon into the weekend will find gradually lowering surf. A new northwest swell will arrive early Monday, and then another later Tuesday.

West shores –  The recent NW swell will be lowering into Sunday, then up again early Monday and again next Tuesday.

South shores –  Surf will be very small to small on these leeward shores. 

East shores –  Wind swell continues…gradually smoothing out and lowering into the weekend and beyond. The wind swell may begin to rise again around next Thursday or so…as the trade winds pick up Wednesday.

NOAA animated wave model