Approaching rain could overwhelm Hawaii roadways

February 17, 2023

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Effects from the Kona Low will move over the rest of the Islands by Friday and folks on Hawaii Island were not the only ones prepping on Thursday.

The Kona Low itself is not dumping rain on the Islands; it is drawing the moisture in.

“We’re on the east side of it, lot of tropical moisture coming up, so we’re looking at the potential for very intense rainfall rates that could cause flash flooding very quickly,” said John Bravender, National Weather Service warning coordination meteorologist. “Lots of thunderstorms through here and moisture coming up this way from the south. So, this is what’ll spread across the islands, bringing the heavy rain.”

The Transportation Department said they have also prepared by topping off response vehicles with fuel and clearing ditches and drains. Officials are keeping an eye on the forecast to see how much rain is expected, but concerns can also be raised over the rate at which the moisture falls.

Cunningham said flooded roads could seem safe to pass, but it is best to steer clear and notify police.

Staff at Maui Humane Society also prepared on Thursday — Maui County is expected to see weather impacts after Hawaii Island.

“It is going to be raining cats and dogs here on Maui and unfortunately the shelter really is affected by rain and wind,” said Katie Shannon, Maui Humane Society marketing director. “And so we have put boards up on our kennels already to prepare for the dogs to ensure that they are going to be dry,” Shannon said.

Maui officials are asking residents to be cautious. Mahina Martin, Maui County Chief of Communications, said “they should be very cautious driving on the roads. Heavy rains will be inundating our roadways, streams and waterways can be dangerous. So they should make good decisions.”

The National Park service will be closing the Kipahulu District of Haleakala National Park as well due to anticipated possible floods, landslides and road closures.

Experts said locals should cancel their outdoor weekend plans, especially because the islands have already seen plenty of wet weather in 2023.

“How saturated the ground is, that tends to create a faster flash flooding response because all the rain that falls would go to runoff and cause problems that way, and potential damage,” Bravender said.

Read the full article and video at KHON2

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