Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Chilly northern air
should depart by midweek

Don't put your parka and earmuffs away just yet.

The current spell of cold weather is being caused by a series of low-pressure systems that have been passing closer to the islands than normal, National Weather Service lead forecaster Jonathan Hoag said.

Yesterday's high temperature at Honolulu Airport of 75 degrees is 6 degrees lower than the mean high temperature for March. The morning's low temperature of 63 degrees is 4 degrees below the mean low temperature for March.

A low-pressure system north of the islands is moving cold air from the north around its center in a counterclockwise direction and bringing it to the islands from the west.

Isle residents can expect relief from the cold winds as the system moves away, Hoag said. Another low-pressure system will pass north of us in the second half of the week, but not close enough to bring cold air, he said.

This month's colder weather coincides with a peak in flulike illness reported in the state.

Last year the number of flulike illnesses reported by physicians monitored by the state Department of Health peaked in December and January, according to DOH statistics.

Health professionals say the incidence of colds and flu is higher in the colder months because that is when more people stay indoors in close quarters where germs can circulate.

National Weather Service - Hawaii

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