Hawaii braces for more rain as storm lash area

An intense seasonal cyclone that caused extensive flash flooding and triggered a wave of warnings across Hawaii on Monday is expected to...

An intense seasonal cyclone that caused extensive flash flooding and triggered a wave of warnings across Hawaii on Monday is expected to linger until Tuesday, with forecasters warning the storm could also trigger landslides and widespread power outages.

Late Monday evening, the Oahu Emergency Management Department reported flooding in urban areas of Honolulu, as well as several vehicle rescues, the National Weather Service in Honolulu reported.

As the storm spread across the islands, a flash flood warning was in effect for Oahu in Honolulu until Tuesday morning local time. the weather service said.

“The excessive runoff from heavy rains will cause flooding of drainage ditches and streams, streets, highways, properties and other low lying areas,” the agency warned. “Stay away from streams, rivers, drainage ditches and culverts, even if they are currently dry. “

At least four shelters were opened overnight on Oahu, officials said. There was flooding on Tuesday at a popular beach, Main Dragon Waikiki Beach, and power was cut in downtown Oahu, according to Adam Weintraub, spokesperson for the Emergency Management Agency. Hawaii.

Hawaii Governor David Ige signed a declaration of emergency on Monday afternoon, which freed up state funds to be used for losses from flooding and other damage from cyclones.

The cyclone hitting Hawaii is a type of storm called the kona depression, which typically stalls, drops large amounts of rain in one location and comes from the south, bringing moisture to areas that usually don’t get a lot of rainfall. , said the weather service.

But given the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean, it’s rare for a Kona low to stall directly over the Hawaiian Islands, meteorologists said.

“This is an extreme weather event,” Weintraub said on Monday.

As of Monday afternoon, parts of Maui had already received about 12 inches of rain, “a dangerous amount,” according to David Roth, a weather service meteorologist.

That danger is expected to increase, officials said, as total precipitation could reach 10 to 15 inches across the state by Tuesday, with isolated areas up to 25 inches, according to the weather service.

“Please avoid all non-essential travel,” the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency said in a message on Twitter. The agency also said it would start assessing the damage on Tuesday.

Oahu, Honolulu’s most populous island, is expected to receive heavy rain Monday evening and early Tuesday morning, Weintraub said.

As of Monday afternoon, several major roads were closed, including part of Highway 11 in the southern region of the island of Hawaii, according to the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

All the islands were on one flood eve Monday, several public schools canceled classes and Governor Ige warned residents of Twitter, “Now is the time to make sure you have a contingency plan in place and supplies ready if you need to step away from the rising waters.” “

Hawaii County Mayor Mitchell Roth said a emergency state Sunday, allowing state agencies to step up and seek federal disaster assistance.

The cyclone is expected to move west Monday evening and early Tuesday morning, the weather service said.

Authorities are preparing for “rapid water rescues” in heavily flooded areas, Weintraub said.

Because “everything flows” easily from the slippery volcanic rocks of Hawaii’s natural geography, including lava and water, flooding could be severe in parts of the islands, said Roth, the meteorologist.

“For volcanic areas you are dealing with steep slopes, especially in places where people live near their base – so yes that’s a problem,” he said.

The weather service said “many” landslides were expected in areas with steep terrain.

“Debris in streams and ravines can clog bridges and culverts, leading to dangerous flooding,” the service said. He also said freeways and remote urban areas, especially in Oahu, could also experience severe flooding.

Meteorologists warned residents to avoid walking or driving in the flood waters on Monday and Tuesday.

The storm system also brought snow at the peaks of Big Island, which rise to over 11,000 feet. But meteorologists said it was not uncommon for snow to fall, even on a tropical island – and rain was a much bigger concern.

“I’m afraid that one of our social networks posts makes everyone focus on the blizzard rather than the rain, which is exactly the same system, ”Roth said.

Jesus jiménez and Derrick Bryson Taylor contributed reports.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Hawaii braces for more rain as storm lash area
Hawaii braces for more rain as storm lash area
Newsrust - US Top News
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