Strong Kona winds, thunderstorms late Sunday and Monday for Kauaʻi
Update Dec. 18 at 5 a.m.: Southwest winds of 20 to 40 mph with gusts up to 60 mph are expected from Sunday at 6 pm to Monday at 6 pm, especially over and downwind of terrain. Additionally, all areas will be susceptible to strong winds with heavy showers, according to the National Weather Service.
Original post: The National Weather Service in Honolulu issued a special weather statement Friday afternoon in preparation for the arrival of a powerful cold front that will impact the entire state late this weekend and into the beginning of next week.
The cold front is forecast to sweep across the state Monday. Southwest winds, or Kona winds, will increase ahead of the front Sunday, with gusty conditions initially developing across windward communities, as well as any locations over and downwind of terrain. These strengthening winds could become damaging Sunday night and Monday.
Impacts could include roof damage, downed trees and power outages.
Thunderstorms also might develop as early as Sunday, with some potentially becoming strong to severe along and ahead of the front Sunday night and Monday. Any thunderstorms during this time frame could be capable of producing damaging wind gusts and hail over any portion of the state.
Heavy rainfall is expected along the front and during thunderstorms. At this time, chances for widespread flash flooding do not appear to be high; however, leeward communities could experience experience a period of heavy rainfall and potential flood impacts, especially on Maui and the Big Island later Sunday into Monday.
Additionally, the powerful low pressure system driving the front will generate a large northwest swell that will affect the islands. Homeowners, beachgoers and boaters should prepare for high surf and significant wave runup, with possible coastal impacts along exposed north- and west-facing shores.
The National Weather Service said it’s too early at this time to be specific about the details of the timing or strength of this weather event. The agency will continue to monitor the situation.
Remain alert for later statements and possible watches or warnings associated with this weather system as the forecast and details become more clear. Stay tuned to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio, your local media and internet sources for the latest information.
With the potential for high winds, Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative members should prepare for possible extended power outages. The utility co-op offered these tips:
- Protect your appliances and sensitive equipment from outages and surges by using surge protectors.
- During a storm, turn off and unplug all unnecessary appliances or equipment.
- Keep a portable battery-powered radio and flashlights on hand with extra batteries.
- Prepare coolers with ice to preserve food in the event of an extended outage.
- If you lose power, when it is restored and is steady, gradually plug in your appliances.
Cooperative members who experience a power outage are encouraged to verify it on the outage map. A link can be found on the utility co-op’s website. Members can also find outage information on the cooperative’s Facebook page.
“One of the great advantages we have now is our advanced metering infrastructure, or AMI,” said Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative Chief of Operations Brad Rockwell in a press release. “We know immediately when and where outages occur. That allows us to begin to map out a plan for restoration even before we can physically get out to inspect damage.”
Rockwell noted that the ability for crews to respond immediately to outages will depend on weather conditions.
“Safety of our crews must come first,” he said in the press release. “We appreciate our members’ patience and encourage you to prepare for extended outages.”
While there is no need for members to call the co-op to report outages, emergencies such as downed power lines should be reported. Members are advised to stay clear of downed lines or other emergencies and report the incident to 911.
For updates on road conditions and closures, please call 808-241-1725. Please do not call Kaua‘i police 911 unless you have an emergency.
For weather updates call the National Weather Service automated weather line at 808-245-6001, or visit the NWS website, www.weather.gov/hfo.
To sign up for Wireless Emergency Notification System (WENS), the county’s emergency notification service, go to the county’s website, www.kauai.gov and click on “Sign up for Emergency Notifications.”
You may also call the Kaua‘i Emergency Management Agency at 808-241-1800.