(BIVN) – A Flood Watch is in effect for Hawaiʻi island through Saturday afternoon, and Hawaiʻi County officials have already signed an emergency proclamation in anticipation of heavy rains.
From the National Weather Service:
A departing kona low to the west and a strong area of high pressure to the northeast, will bring a plume of deep tropical moisture into the islands during the next few days. Widespread heavy rainfall and even a few thunderstorms will be possible, with the heavy rain beginning over the Big Island later today, then spreading to the smaller islands tonight. High rainfall rates for an extended period of time could result in flash flooding, particularly in areas which are already saturated from recent rainfall.
Forecasters say the overflow of streams and drainages across the state could result in significant flooding, and landslides may occur in areas with steep terrain. “Areas of particular concern include east and southeast sections of the Big Island, where washout of roads could isolate communities,” the National Weather Service said.
From the County of Hawaiʻi:
on February 16, 2023
Mayor Mitch Roth signed a Mayor’s Severe Weather Emergency Proclamation earlier this morning ahead of an anticipated heavy rainfall event on Hawaiʻi Island. The signed proclamation allows for a streamlined response and coordination of resources in the event of a disaster.
“We signed an emergency proclamation this morning so that we can guarantee every resource necessary to ensure the safety of our community in the event of severe impacts from the impending storm,” said Mayor Mitch Roth.
According to the National Weather Service, the County and State of Hawaiʻi are currently under a Flood Watch, where up to 20 inches of rainfall can be expected over the next couple of days. The Flood Watch is set to remain in effect through Saturday afternoon, February 18.
The Waipiʻo Valley Access Road has been closed due to the early onset of the weather system, and more closures are expected in the coming days. The areas expected to see the most severe impacts are Kaʻū, Puna, and Hilo, including areas along the Hāmākua Coast to Waipiʻo Valley. West Hawaiʻi will also be impacted due to continued convection from the storm.
Road crews, utilities, Fire, and Police stand ready to address impacts caused by the anticipated weather as they occur to ensure public safety. Shelters have been identified in varying locations in the event that they become necessary.
The County has not requested the cancellation of any planned outdoor events or activities at this time but reminds residents that closures and/or cancellations may be necessary with little to no notice, pending the severity of the weather impacts.
Camping permits may also be terminated if necessary. The Department of Parks and Recreation will make that determination in real-time and contact permittees accordingly.
Officials will continue to monitor the situation and update the public as necessary.
The public can access information in real-time on the County of Hawaiʻi Civil Defense Hazard Map or via the County’s mobile application, Kāhea, which is available on both Android and iPhone.