Thursday, 20 November 2008

Battening down the hatches


It was a beautiful day today, not too hot, lots of sunshine and the odd shower off the coast. The meteorologists, however, have been warning us for a few days now that things are going to change. In fact they did the other day, we did have some heavy rainfall but it didn't last long and as the KGMB weatherman reminded us today, it's the calm before the storm.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a flash flood watch early today for all the Hawai`ian islands. That means flooding is expected in the very near future. What will happen next is a flash flood warning meaning flooding is actually occurring. We get this every winter and sometimes it's a little over the top, the Hawai`i NWS page often lights up like a Christmas tree at this time of year with all the colours they use for different warnings. High surf, floods, summit winter conditions, high winds - then they issue warnings for each island so it sometimes looks as though it's the end of the world. Tonight, so far, all the islands are coloured green so it doesn't look too bad.

What troubled me is that the NWS forecast this morning, issued at 4am HST, actually said "prodigious rainfall". Now I see that the 8:30pm discussion is out, and it says:
"[...] CONVERGENCE IN THE SOUTHEAST FLOW NEAR THE SURFACE...TOGETHER
WITH THE TROUGH ALOFT DEEPENING TOWARD THE ISLANDS FROM THE
NORTHWEST...WILL BRING WIDESPREAD RAIN TO MOST OF THE STATE...AND
MAY PRODUCE SOME TRULY PRODIGIOUS PRECIPITATION LOCALLY. [...]"
The forecast discussion is here but it updates every six hours so you may not see what I'm reading right now, and of course each forecaster will use different words, but I've never seen that term used before in the forecasts. This is the place that in one spot in 2000 received 37-inches (94-cm) of rain in 24-hours. That storm took out every highway on the island as well as several houses. Only one radio station managed to keep broadcasting during the storm and I remember listening to it. What a day that was.

Now I'm worried!

The radar map above shows the storm approaching the western islands at 9pm HST. For those that don't know the state of Hawai`i, the five largest islands from west to east (left to right) are Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Maui and the Big Island. (I can name the others if anyone is interested!). Kauai and Oahu are going to be hit first and then the storm is forecast to hit all the other islands on Friday and Saturday and linger into early next week.

I think I'll postpone my plans for a weekend working in the garden...

4 comments:

Protege said...

Tom, I hope the storm will not be as violent as you expect. I was in a hurricane twice; once directly in the eye, it was awful. After that I have respect for the weather and mother nature.

Keera Ann Fox said...

Wind's howling here, too, and more snow, but nothing extraordinary, unsafe or worrisome. Not by a long shot. I live in an area that gets bad weather, but it never gets destructive weather. May you have bad, but non-destructive weather, too.

Lou Minatti said...

I checked the average temperature for your neck of the woods. High 80-84, low 72, once the storm passes. For day after day.

Wanna trade places? :-)

Tom said...

Oh no, Lou, no way, but you've got the wrong impression about the weather here. I remember a night last year when the temperature dropped into the high 50s. Brrrr.