Forecasters warn of windy weekend, high surf

“If you have outdoor plans for the weekend, be prepared for very windy conditions. If your plans include marine activities, you may want to consider postponing them.”

That warning is part of a special weather statement issued by the National Weather Service in Honolulu. A low-pressure system described as “an unusually strong storm system” is en route from the north, and is forecast to bring multiple weather hazards over the weekend, forecasters cautioned.

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“The storm will send a powerful swell toward the islands that will impact exposed north- and west-facing shores with very high surf,” forecasters say. “Additionally, the combination of strong onshore winds and high surf will increase the potential for significant coastal flooding that could lead to property damage, road closures and beach erosion.”

Forecasters are also warning of “potentially damaging north to northwest winds to the island chain, particularly Saturday night through Sunday evening.”

“While these winds are expected to be strongest over ridges and mountaintops, they will also accelerate downslope, impacting heavily populated areas,” forecasters said. “In addition, intense fast moving rain showers or squalls may bring very strong and damaging winds as the storm makes its closest approach.”

The Hilo forecast for today through Sunday calls for scattered showers and breezy winds coming from the north to northwest. The wind is expected to pick up this afternoon to 15 to 20 mph and gusts are expected to peak at about 28 mph. It is expected to be windier in Kona with gusts as high as 36 mph.

The low temperature tonight is forecast to be about 63 degrees with lows dipping into the upper 50s at Hilo International Airport Saturday and Sunday nights.

The Maunakea Access Road is open as of 8:45 a.m. with summit temperature at 22 degrees and the wind from the south at 35 mph. Winds at the summit are expected to be between 40-60 mph tonight.

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An updated version of this story will appear in Saturday’s edition of the Tribune-Herald.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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