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Kona low brings unpredictable weather; Heavy showers over NE Maui; Molokaʻi Flood Advisory until 4 p.m. : Maui Now

Flood Advisory for Molokaʻi until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023. Radar Imagery PC: NOAA/NWS.

Update: 3:39 p.m., Nov. 29, 2023

Periods of heavy showers will impact northeast Maui through 4:30 p.m., according to an update issued by the National Weather Service. At 3:33 p.m., Doppler radar showed near stationary, training showers east of Keʻanae, or 36 miles east of Kahului, toward Hāna. Training rainfall was producing isolated 1 to 2 inches at last report. Locations impacted include: Kīpahulu, Hāna Forest Reserve, Nāhiku, Keʻanae, Haleakalā National Park, Wailua and Hāmoa.

Update: 2:55 p.m., Nov. 29, 2023

The Flood Advisory for the island of Molokaʻi has been extended to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023. At 2:49 p.m., radar showed heavy to moderate rain over west Molokaʻi or west of Kualapuʻu. Radar estimates that between 1 to 2 inches have already fallen over west Molokaʻi, and rain is currently falling at rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour. Some locations that will experience flooding include: Maunaloa, Kepuhi and Kualapuʻu.

Update: 1:04 p.m., Nov. 29, 2023

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The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Advisory until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 29, for the island of Molokaʻi due to flooding caused by excessive rainfall. At 1:03 p.m., radar showed heavy rain over west Molokaʻi, with rain falling at a rate of 1 to 3 inches per hour. Some locations that will experience flooding include: Maunaloa, Kepuhi and Kualapuʻu.

Flood mitigation efforts deployed as unpredictable weather threatens portions of Maui County. PC: County of Maui.

County of Maui officials are reminding the public to be proactive and alert as a kona low, an unpredictable weather system, impacts the County of Maui.

County’s Maui Emergency Management Agency advanced to partial activation at the start of the National Weather Service’s Flood Watch, which went into effect for Maui County on Wednesday morning, Nov. 29, 2023, and continues through Thursday afternoon.

Just before noon, the National Weather Service in Honolulu issued a Special Weather Statement (scroll down to view details) for Maui County, saying periods of heavy rain or isolated thunderstorms may impact Maui, Moloka’i and Kaho’olawe through early afternoon today. 

It added that “periods of rain exceeding one inch per hour could exacerbate localized flooding over recent burn scars in West Maui and on the western slope of Haleakalā. Gusty winds could blow around unsecured objects.”

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First impacting Kaua’i, Ni’ihau and O’ahu, the kona low weather system poses a unique threat to Maui, which suffered devastating fires in August that left ash and debris in Lahaina and in Upcountry. 

The County of Maui, along with state and federal partners, are continuing to prepare fire-damaged areas should flooding occur.

Mitigation efforts include:

  • Department of Public Works deployed 40 pallets of straw wattles in Lahaina burn zone. Twenty-five staff members are on standby to monitor best management practices. The BMPs help prevent ash from mobilizing to the storm drain system.
  • To date, Department of Public Works has cleared 90% of debris from streets in the Lahaina burn zone. 
  • In anticipation of the storm, state Department of Transportation on Front Street set up 8,000 feet of a pollutant filter system called Enviroxx.
  • The Disaster Recover Center at Lahaina Civic Center is open but officials continue to monitor weather to determine if closure is warranted. Disaster Recovery Center at University of Hawaii Maui College closed today, Nov. 29. Both centers will reevaluate conditions Thursday to determine hours.
  • Earlier this week, county staff were inspecting and clearing culverts in South Maui and in Upcountry where flooding is known to occur. Flood mitigation equipment will be staged if and when flooding begins.
  • Employees on Moloka’i and Lāna’i have been preparing their districts.

The public is encouraged to stay informed through credible sources such as the National Weather Service, the Hawai’i Emergency Management Agency and the Maui Emergency Management Agency.

The public is also urged to take the necessary steps to be prepared, including having an emergency kit with essential items. For more information on emergency preparedness and to sign up for alerts from MEMA, visit www.mauicounty.gov/MEMA.

Satellite imagery, Nov. 29, 2023 11:59 a.m. PC: NOAA/NWS
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Update: 11:50 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023

The National Weather Service has issued a Special Weather Statement for Maui County saying periods of heavy rain or isolated thunderstorms may impact Maui, Molokaʻi and Kahoʻolawe through 1:15 p.m.

At 11:43 a.m., Doppler radar was tracking pockets of moderate rain 12 miles southwest of Mākena, or 24 miles south of Kahului, moving north at 30 mph.

The system was bringing wind gusts up to 40 mph, according to the NWS. The public is advised that gusty winds could blow around unsecured objects.

Periods of rain exceeding one inch per hour could exacerbate localized flooding over recent burn scars in west Maui and on the western slope of Haleakalā, according to the statement.

Locations impacted include: Kahului, Kīhei, Lahaina, Honokōhau, Hāliʻimaile, Kīpahulu, Wailuku, Makawao, Pāʻia, Kēōkea, Wailea, Waiheʻe, Kula, Pukalani, Kapalua, Puʻunēnē, Waikapū, Waiehu, Hāna and Mākena.

The public is advised to be aware of localized heavy rainfall leading to nuisance or minor flooding.

Source: Maui News

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