Additional heavy rain is forecast for tonight
Sunshine is in the forecast for today, but don't get used to it
The welcome sunshine of yesterday is in the weather forecast for Oahu again today, but don't get used to it.
Another round of heavy rain is expected to begin tonight and continue through Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.
"We are cautiously optimistic about the weekend," said meteorologist Andy Nash. "We may be seeing generally improving tradewindlike weather. We will still not be back to normal stable tradewinds."
Rainfall in the past six weeks has set island records, according to a National Weather Service compilation.
||Rain since Feb. 19
||Record any month/year
||90.07 (Apr. 1971)
||22.91 (Dec. 1968)
||31.49 (Jan. 1956)
||36.70 (Jan. 1922)
||29.89 (Dec. 1927)
||40.52 (Dec. 1927)
Nash said the low-pressure system stalled off to the west of the islands is expected to slowly move eastward. "That would put us on the dry side of the system."
Nash said upper-level storm systems that have been forming to the north and west of Hawaii for the past six weeks have set several rainfall records.
They are part of an upper atmospheric weather pattern that has affected the whole Northern Hemisphere, the meteorologist said. "It has gone into a blocking pattern, areas of high pressure that get locked into place. There is one locked into place over the North Pacific. It's like a train wreck; nothing goes anywhere. It causes the whole circulation to stay in place. The whole hemisphere is tied into it; it explains why it is still dry in Texas," Nash said.
Low-pressure systems frequently develop off Hawaii, but "where the block happened this time, off to the west, put us in the wet side of the storm systems," he said. "Other times, storms in a different zone of the ocean wouldn't have affected us."
This is already the wettest month on record for Lihue Airport, where 34.31 inches have fallen since March 1 and 41.97 inches have been recorded since Feb. 19. The April 1971 record for Mount Waialeale, 90.07 inches, is likely to be surpassed as rainfall continues this week. Waialeale, one of the wettest spots in the world, has received 126.69 inches since Feb. 19.
Poamoho on Oahu has received 74.24 inches since the six-week storm began.
As Oahu residents reveled in bright sunshine yesterday, the rain front moved on to Maui and the Big Island.
On Maui, visitors and national park staff remained at lower elevations yesterday as high gusts, hail and sleet occurred near the summit of Mount Haleakala.
The winds reached 70 mph sustained gusts at 11:30 a.m. yesterday, and the visitor center near the summit was closed, park ranger Dominic Cardea said.
Park employee Elizabeth Havelin said she had not seen anything like this weather before. "It is truly wild up there," she said.
The road was open with no ice yesterday, but visitors were encouraged to turn around.
Cardea said the estimated wind chill at the top was 2 degrees below zero, and park staff had been recalled to the headquarters at a lower elevation.
A bad transformer at the visitor center caused a loss of power at 7:45 a.m. Sunday, but it was fixed by yesterday, according to Maui Electric Co.
The National Weather Service warned of the potential of funnel clouds yesterday in southeastern Maui, but none were reported to Maui police.
Moderately heavy rains doused West Hawaii but caused no damage or road closures, Hawaii County Civil Defense Director Troy Kindred said. The National Weather Service showed the heaviest rainfall in the area was 2.3 inches above Kailua-Kona in the 12 hours ending at 5 p.m.
Star-Bulletin reporter Rod Thompson contributed to this report.