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Gray day ahead for all islands


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POSTED: Friday, November 13, 2009

A weather system spinning around the state is bringing high surf, heavy rain and even snow to the islands.

And more rain could hit across all islands today during a statewide flash flood watch through this afternoon.

“;These storms and thunderstorms have been pinwheeling around the islands for the last couple days,”; said National Weather Service lead forecaster Jeff Powell. “;Even if it's not raining heavily, it's going to be gray and oppressive-looking.”;

Powell said the winds are spinning rain clouds around a low-pressure system west of Kauai, making it hard to tell exactly where it is going to rain.

“;It's a general unstable situation,”; he said. “;We're in a cauldron. The water's boiling, but we're not sure where the bubbles are going to come up.”;

The storm, which brought heavy rain to Kauai Tuesday, kept lifeguards busy on Oahu and created problems on Maui and the Big Island yesterday.

The weather service issued a flash flood warning for Maui last night because of heavy rains and thundershowers in Kaupo, Kipahulu, Hamoa, Nahiku, Huelo, Keanae and Hana.

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A flash flood advisory was issued for the Big Island and a high-surf warning was issued for north and east shores of Oahu and Kauai through today.

The large northeast swell kept Oahu lifeguards busy. At about 9 a.m. lifeguards closed Makapuu Beach Park to swimmers and assisted one person to shore.

At Sandy Beach there were four rescues and 12 assists by lifeguards on personal watercraft. Lifeguards also rescued two people at Hanauma Bay and issued at least 950 warnings.

Kauai officials urged people to stay out of north- and east-facing shores because of 20- to 30-foot surf.

The surf also closed Bayfront Highway in Hilo and prevented a Young Bros. barge from entering Kahului Harbor. The departure of another barge for Maui from Honolulu was delayed until today.

Rough seas also delayed the Coast Guard in assisting a disabled 40-foot fishing boat with five people aboard eight miles east of Kaneohe.

The Coast Guard cutter Galveston Island reached the vessel at 11:27 p.m. Wednesday but decided to wait until morning before towing the boat in.

Weather radar last night showed heavy rain between Mountain View and Volcano and between Hilo and Pepeekeo on the Big Island. On Maui some thunderstorms dropped up to 4 inches per hour between Hamoa and Nahiku on the windward Haleakala slopes, the weather ser-vice said.

The storm also dropped snow on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, where a winter weather advisory was in effect.

The weather service also issued a small-craft advisory and a gale warning for waters 40 to 240 miles offshore.