A very potent storm is forecast to blast the entire state of Hawaii with high winds, with some destructive wind gusts possible. A powerful area of low pressure developing to the north of the islands will move toward them this weekend. This storm will send large, destructive surf, and locally damaging winds, to parts of the state over the next 36 hours. Unsettled weather may persist into the middle of next week as the low lingers to the northeast of the state.
Due to the threat of damaging winds, the National Weather Service office in Honolulu, Hawaii has issued a High Wind Warning state-wide. Some islands will see worse winds than others. On Oahu, Kauai, Maui, Lanai, Hawaii, and Molokai, winds sustained at 20-40mph with gusts to 60mph are expected. This includes the city of Honolulu. On Maui’s Haleakala summit, winds of 40-60mph are expected with gusts over 85mph possible. On the Big Island, winds of 65mph to 115pm are expected near the summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, with some gusts in excess of 140mph possible there. Winds of this magnitude are equivalent to a strong Category 4 hurricane and are considered “catastrophic.”
Winds are expected to be strongest during the day on Sunday. People are advised to avoid the summits, especially on the Big Island, where dangerous winds are forecast. Winds this strong can make driving and hiking extremely dangerous.
Showery conditions are expected to develop tonight and continue through Sunday night as the powerful storm makes its closest approach to the islands. While thunder probabilities remain low, the cold air aloft may be sufficient to produce some isolated thunderstorm activity. Residents are reminded that when thunder roars, they should head indoors; lightning strikes can be deadly.
Beyond rain and wind, Hawaii could also see significant snow. According to the National Weather Service, current winter precipitation guidance suggests snowfall will remain under advisory criteria, but that could change with time. The best threat of wintry weather will be at elevations over 9000 feet on Hawaii and Maui Islands.
Winds will relax on Monday but will likely remain breezy across the island chain. A further easing on the winds is expected Monday night through Tuesday night, with winds shifting around to the north. Moderate to breezy northeast trade winds then appear to make a return Wednesday through late next week. Scattered shower activity will persist across the Aloha State through at least Wednesday.