Flash flood watch in effect for Hawaii Island

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for the entire state of Hawaii through 6 a.m. Friday.

A low-pressure system will move over the state today producing slow-moving heavy rain and scattered thunderstorms across the island chain.

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Slow moving heavy showers will increase the threat of flash flooding statewide.

Most of Maui is under a flash flood warning, and that could be extended to other areas of the state.

According to Hawaii County Civil Defense, areas in lower Puna are receiving heavy rains today. No road closures have yet been reported but Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno said drivers “should use caution due to occasionally heavy downpours.”

“Driving conditions are poor. Be on the alert for possible road closures without notice,” Magno said, and added possible power interruptions could lead to malfunctioning traffic signals, and that flashing traffic lights should be treated as a four-way stop.

“If lightning does threaten your area, the safest place to be is indoors,” he said.

Magno said there could also be power interruptions.

According to forecasters, heavy rainfall may produce rapidly rising waters in rivers and streams. Strong runoff flooding roads could create dangerous to impassible driving conditions. In addition, debris in streams may clog bridges and culverts resulting in dangerous flooding. Isolated landslides are possible.

A flash flood watch means that conditions are favorable for flash flooding, which is life threatening. Those driving or walking are advised to not cross fast-flowing water.

If you experience heavy rain or rising water, head to higher ground immediately.

Monitor local media for updates and be prepared to take action if a flash flood warning is issued.

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This story will be updated as necessary.

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

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