Friday, December 31, 2004

Kauai feels first
impact of storm

Heavy rains that hit last night
will likely shift to Oahu tonight

Kauai got drenched with heavy rains last night, and Oahu was expected to be next as a strong, slow-moving storm made its way over the state.

Thundershowers and high winds were expected to hit Oahu tonight and stick around through New Year's Day.

Forecasters say they are worried about flash flooding from the storm, and warn residents to steer clear of swollen streams. Some areas of the island could see more than 8 inches of rain, the National Weather Service said.

"The potential is there" for flash flooding, said weather service forecaster Norman Hui. "The next couple days bring bad weather."

A flash flood watch went up for Oahu, Kauai and Niihau yesterday through tomorrow, and forecasters expected to heighten it to a warning today.

The weather service also issued an urban and small-stream flood advisory for Kauai last night, saying Hanalei, Kalalau Lookout and other spots had seen steady downpours.

Hui said Kauai will get its heaviest rainfall today, but skies are forecast to be cloudy through tomorrow.

Winds were expected to steadily increase on Kauai and Oahu overnight, reaching 20 to 30 mph today.

In its high-wind watch for Oahu and Kauai, the National Weather Service said some thunderstorms could bring gusts of up to 60 mph as they move across the islands today and tomorrow. Down-slope areas of the island will likely see the highest winds, the weather service said.

"There's some wind out there," Hui said. "It's just going to continue."

The weather service said the storm was moving south at about 20 mph and had slowed in the last several days. By yesterday afternoon the center of the low-pressure system was about 750 miles west of Kauai.

Oahu Civil Defense is monitoring the storm and has alerted its volunteers in case they are needed to clear debris.

Civil Defense officials said yesterday that the oncoming storm will likely be similar to one that hit the islands on Jan. 14, toppling trees and telephone poles, damaging homes and closing several schools.

National Weather Service - Hawaii
www.prh.noaa.gov/hnl/ NWS Hawaii radar
Hawaii satellite image -- infrared
Hawaii satellite image -- visible light

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