Flash Flood Watch compounds Hawaii weather woes

HAWAII ISLAND – A flash flood watch has been added to the list of other weather related watches and warnings for Hawaii Island. The National Weather Service issued the flash flood watch for the Big Island and Maui County from late Tuesday night through Thursday afternoon.

That compounds concerns for Hawaii Island, which is already on the alert for high winds and winter storms on the summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, as well as warning-level high surf that could reach 25 to 35 feet along north facing shores.

National Weather Service meteorologists say “abundant moisture moving over the islands from the east will combine with a developing upper level trough to bring the threat of widespread moderate to heavy rain, and isolated thunderstorms.”

The National Weather service in Honolulu has expanded the flash flood watch to include Oahu from Wednesday evening through Thursday afternoon.

National Weather ServiceNWS Honolulu, 11.12.13

“Heavy rain is expected to be widespread and slow-moving… Affecting urban areas in the lower elevations… Which will be more susceptible to flooding problems. Heavy rain is also expected over upslope areas… Which will likely produce flash flooding of streams. The threat of heavy rain will shift from east to west across the island chain… Initially impacting Maui County and the Big Island… Before spreading west to Oahu late Wednesday and Thursday.”

The watch has already prompted the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to cancel all camping permits for a North Kohala hiking trail.

“We are cancelling all camping permits and the remote Waimanu trail until further notice until the trail can be inspected and deemed safe for public use,” said Roger Imoto, Division of Forestry and Wildlife administrator in a media release.

The DLNR added that with long sustained rains, stream levels are likely to rise, which is a safety hazard for hikers crossing streams. The state warns, “do not attempt to cross a flooded stream. Remain on higher ground and wait for the stream to subside.”

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