HAWAII ISLAND – High winds whipped Hawaii Island Saturday night into Sunday morning. The National Weather Service Honolulu issued a number of warnings and advisories for the Big Island and the rest of the state.
As of midnight, a high wind warning remained in effect until 6 pm HST Sunday.
Meteorologists predicted that strong northeasterly winds will blanket the state through Sunday afternoon then gradually subside thereafter. “The winds will accelerate down the lee slopes, over ridges and through passes of the mountains producing very powerful gusts,” wrote the National Weather Service in an update posted at 9:32 p.m. HST on Saturday night.
Winds will blow Northeast from 30 to 45 mph with localized gusts to 60 mph.
On the Big Island, the weather service says the strongest winds will be focused in the leeward Kohala area, the Waimea to Kawaihae corridor, western Saddle areas, and north of Kailua-Kona in the north Kona district.
From the National Weather Service:
Timing: Now through Sunday, with a peak in the winds expected tonight into Sunday morning.
Impacts: Winds this strong can result in damaged roofs, broken and falling tree branches, downed trees, downed power poles and power lines resulting in interruptions to power, and flying debris if outdoor items are not properly tied down.
Precautionary/preparedness actions: Residents should bring in or tie down any loose outdoor items, and are encouraged to trim older and weaker tree branches that may impact their residence.
These strong winds will make driving difficult, especially for high profile vehicles.
A high wind warning means that winds are expected to be at least 40 mph, with gusts over 60 mph. Stay away from downed power lines.National Weather Service update on March 15, 2014
Hawaii Island’s mountain summits were also braced for trouble. Rangers reported the road to the summit of Mauna Kea was closed due to very wet roads, fog, and dropping temperatures.
The Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park also closed parts of Mauna Loa to backcountry hiking or camping. Mauna Loa Road was closed beyond Kīpukapuaulu and Nāmakanipaio campground is closed to tent camping due to possible falling tree limbs.
In addition, a gale warning was in effect for the waters around the Big Island, as well as a high surf advisory and a flood advisory, which lasts until 2:45 am HST.
“At 11:24 p.m. HST,” wrote the weather service, “radar showed heavy rain 8 miles west of Waipio Valley, or about 39 miles northeast of Kailua-Kona. The area of heavy rain was nearly stationary.”
Meteorologists say other locations in the advisory include but are not limited to Upolu Airport, Mahukona, Honokaa and Hawi.