Hawaii faces “catastrophic flooding” from storms through Tuesday, National Weather Service warns

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Almost a foot of rain has already fallen in Kula on Maui in the past 24 hours, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) in Honolulu.

Total rainfall amounts of 10 to 15 inches are forecast, with isolated areas of 20 to 25 inches possible, the NWS said.

On the Big Island, 8 inches of rain fell over the past 24 hours in several places. The rains start to diminish on Monday morning.

However, heavy rains were still expected to fall on Maui, Oahu and Kauai throughout the day on Monday. A flash flood warning has been issued for the islands of Molokai and Maui.

“Localized rainfall rates of 2-3 inches per hour will exacerbate ongoing flooding from previous rainfall. Parts of downwind Maui have received more than 6 inches of rain in the past 6 hours and runoff remains high.” , said NWS Honolulu.

Landslides are expected and in some cases highways may be closed due to flooding and landslides, which could cut communities off.

Hawaii Governor David Ige declared a state of emergency Monday due to heavy rains which, according to him, “should continue to cause flooding to public and private properties”.

The statement allows the use of funds “to support state and county efforts to quickly and effectively relieve the suffering, damage and loss caused by flooding and other effects of heavy rains,” said Ige on Twitter.

Flood monitoring remains in effect until Tuesday afternoon local time for all of the Hawaiian Islands. A “Kona low” is responsible for bringing deep tropical moisture to the state, resulting in large bands of heavy rain.

“Rains of this size can cause catastrophic flooding and affect areas that are usually not flooded. Low points of roads will become dangerous and impassable due to heavy runoff. Debris in streams and ravines can clog bridges and culverts, leading to dangerous flooding, ”according to the NWS.

“Many landslides are expected in areas with steep terrain. Urban areas, particularly in Oahu, could experience severe flooding,” the NWS warned. “Isolated highways, such as the Belt Highway in the Kau District on the Big Island and the Piilani Highway on Maui, can be closed at one or more locations, resulting in long detours or even isolation of communities.”

Public schools in Hawaii’s Maui County were closed Monday due to the risk of flooding.

“Parts of Maui County are already experiencing flash floods and power outages, causing dangerous conditions,” Hawaii Public Schools said sunday night.
Blizzard warnings remained in effect this weekend for the mountain peaks of the Big Island, where high winds and wintry conditions temporarily closed access to the summit of Mauna Loa last week.

“A winter weather advisory was issued this morning for the peaks of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island above 12,000 feet above sea level and will remain in effect until 6 p.m. HST,” the report said. NWS.



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