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Winds down trees, power lines in East Hawaii

Winds wreaked havoc in East Hawaii on Monday, downing trees and utility lines and keeping firefighters, police and Hawaii Electric Light Co. crews busy.

Trouble spots included Hawaiian Paradise Park, Keaau village and Nanawale Estates in Puna, and Waiakea Uka in Hilo, where downed trees were reported in the Kukuau Street and Mohouli Extension areas and off Haihai Street — including one that reportedly crashed onto vehicles in the parking lot at the Hilo Municipal Golf Course.

“The wind is definitely noticeable in Hilo,” said Derek Wroe, a National Weather Service forecaster in Honolulu, on Monday afternoon.

Hawaii Police Department reported a downed tree blocking one lane of traffic at the intersection of Kanoelehua Avenue and Lama Street on the southern outskirts of Hilo during the afternoon rush hour. Motorists were advised to use alternative routes for “several hours.”

“Other downed trees due to the high winds are impacting the Hilo District,” police said in a dispatch.

A high wind advisory was posted until 6 a.m. today for the northern and eastern sections of Hawaii Island. Sustained winds were forecast between 25 and 30 mph in lower Puna, in and around the newly reopened Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and in areas around Hilo and Kailua-Kona.

At about 4:30 p.m., sustained winds were 25 mph in Hilo with gusts nearing 40 mph.

A high wind warning also was posted for the summits of Maunakea and Mauna Loa until 6 a.m. today. Summit winds were forecast to be at least 56 mph with gusts higher than 66 mph. Those summit winds hadn’t materialized as of 4:30 p.m., with the Mauna Kea Weather Center reporting southeasterly winds at 15 mph.

The temperature on Maunakea, however, was below freezing at 24 degrees.

Social media was abuzz during the weekend about nighttime coldness. The only temperature records set this month, however, have been for daytime highs, including 85 degrees Friday at Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, tying the old record set in 2018.

In Hilo, the overnight low Sunday dipped to 67 degrees, 9 degrees warmer than the record low of 58 set in 2009. On Saturday, the low was also 67 degrees, 10 degrees warmer than the record low of 57 set in 1980. It was colder Friday night, with a low of 64 degrees, 7 degrees warmer than the record low of 57 set in 1958.

The average low for all three nights, historically, is 64 degrees.

Wroe said the perceived unseasonably cold nights in East Hawaii are because of the northerly air mass, which he described as “very dry, especially by Hawaii standards.”

“A good measurement to use for that is … dew point temperature. Dew points normally sit at probably about the low to mid-60s this time of year. And it’s been down in the upper 40s to lower 50s. And that’s a measure of dryness. The lower the dew point gets, the drier the air. That’s about 10 degrees less than it usually is,” he said. “That, when you combine it with the wind blowing, that’s giving it the really cool feel.”

Wroe said there will be some relief later this week, possibly as soon as Wednesday.

“It’s still going to be breezy (today) with a similar wind direction but after that, (the wind) is going to shift back to normal trade directions. That means the dew point will be creeping back up and it won’t feel as cool out there.”

Email John Burnett at
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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