High Wind Warning to Bring 60 mph Gusts Across Islands
A strong high pressure system north of the islands and a broad area of low pressure west of the state, will result in very strong trade winds across the island chain today, according to the National Weather Service. The NWS is forecasting east to northeast winds of 25 to 40 mph with gusts up to 60 mph through 6 p.m.
Over the last 24 hour period ending at 5 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, winds as strong as 57 mph were recorded at Kohala Ranch on Hawaiʻi Island. In Maui County, the highest peak winds so far have been gusts of 46 mph recorded early this morning: at Kāneloa, south of Mākena; and at Makapulapai near Kalaupapa on Molokaʻi.
Peak winds of 43 mph were also recorded at gauges on the outer islands of Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi overnight. Other peak winds included a 41 mph gust at 4:20 Friday afternoon at the Kealia Pond in South Maui and a 37 mph gust at 12:07 p.m. on Friday in Kahului.
At the summit of Haleakalā on Maui, sustained winds of 45 mph are expected with gusts of at least 55 mph. Earlier forecasts from the Maui County Emergency Management agency had indicated potential for 70 mph winds at the summit, but that forecast has been scaled back from earlier projections on Thursday.
The NWS says the “strongest winds will occur over and immediately downwind from the mountains. The trades are expected to remain strong, but will gradually ease tonight and Sunday.”
Winds this strong could potentially result in downed trees and power lines. The NWS says “sporadic power outages are also likely.” Motorists are advised that travel will be difficult, especially for high profile vehicles.