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Hawaii Faces Life-Threatening Flash Flooding Due to Heavy Rainfall

Hawaii Experiences Life-Threatening Flash Flooding Due to Heavy Rainfall

A slow-moving weather system is causing significant issues in Hawaii, with meteorologists warning of life-threatening flash flooding as tropical moisture continues to be funneled over parts of the Hawaiian Islands through the weekend.

Referred to locally as a “Kona Low,” this lingering storm system, characterized by a low-pressure area where jets traverse the atmosphere, has been strategically positioned to channel moisture northward over the region. AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Matt Benz explained that the storm, situated several hundred miles northwest of the islands, has already deluged the city of Lihue in Kauai with over 9 inches of rainfall.

Kauai, situated in the northwestern segment of the island chain and home to a population of less than 75,000, faces the brunt of these extreme weather conditions. The island’s unique topography, featuring low-water crossings instead of bridges along certain roads, poses a significant risk as high water levels could lead to hazardous travel conditions.

Given Hawaii’s diverse climate, with wettest zones typically found on the northeastern sides exposed to prevailing northeast trade winds carrying moisture from the Pacific, the southwestern regions shielded by central mountains can be notably arid.

“The Kona Low is anticipated to persist in generating substantial rainfall, particularly affecting the southwestern arid areas of Lihue throughout the weekend,” stated Benz. “This poses a significant threat of flash floods, mudslides, and debris flows, heightening the risk of washouts.”

As of early Friday morning, the island has already received up to a foot of rain, with the desert areas accumulating between 6 to 10 inches. The slow movement of the Kona Low towards the southeast will continue to inundate Kauai with heavy rainfall, with projections indicating the likelihood of 1-2 feet of rain on the island.

The impact of this weather system extends beyond Kauai, with Oahu, housing Honolulu, also facing torrential rain bands leading to potential flash floods and mudslides. The shifting nature of the rainfall bands raises concerns for Oahu and potentially Maui, with the risk of downpours persisting into the early part of next week.

While the storm poses risks to lives and property, it also brings relief to areas experiencing drought conditions across Hawaii. The weather system near Hawaii is distinct from other regions experiencing rain, mountain snow, and thunderstorms.

For enhanced safety measures and ad-free weather alerts, consider accessing advanced, hyperlocal severe weather notifications provided by AccuWeather Alerts, ensuring continuous monitoring and analysis by expert meteorologists to safeguard you and your family.