The seasonal cyclone has poured more than a foot of rain into parts of Hawaii, prompting security officials to warn of dire flooding levels, potential landslides and power outages from Monday to midweek.
The storm is called Kona Down, and it is a slow weather pattern that can spread to parts of the islands where there is usually no heavy rainfall. The seasonal cyclone is expected to drop several inches of rain in short periods of time, which could lead to “catastrophic flooding,” the National Weather Service warned.
By Monday afternoon, some parts of the Big Island had received nearly 9 inches of rain, while areas of Maui had more than 30 cm in 24 hours. The National Weather Service added that by Tuesday, some isolated regions could receive up to 25 inches of rain before the storm passes.
The aftermath of a storm could include “hazardous driving conditions due to near-zero visibility. Many roads can become impassable due to strong runoff and floods, ”the agency wrote. “Numerous landslides are also expected in areas with steep slopes. Debris in streams and ravines can clog bridges and culverts, resulting in dangerous flooding. Urban areas, especially Oahu, may experience severe flooding. ”
Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi on Monday warned residents to heed safety warnings, saying it was “a very serious storm.” Flash flood warnings have been issued in Oahu, and emergency officials have urged some residents to look for higher ground.
“We’re just asking everyone to be careful and use common sense,” Blangiardi said at the briefing. “Let’s not let the storm take over us.”
The storm has already affected flights. Maui’s Kahului airport was cut off on Sunday, leaving passengers flying during a storm until backup generators were able to go online.
At high altitudes, the storm triggered a blizzard warning on Sunday at the peaks of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, where more than a foot of snow could fall, officials said. These blizzard warnings are common.