Garden Isle soggy after heavy rains

Heavy rains bathed Kaua‘i yesterday, particularly on the Eastside which saw some temporary road closures in Kapa‘a.

Some parts of the island experienced a few inches of rain in a 24-hour period, according to the National Weather Service. A flash flood watch that began Thursday remained in effect through late last night.

But the pressure system should be heading away from Kaua‘i tomorrow, according to National Weather Service Lead Forecaster Tom Birshard.

He characterized the recent heavy showers as a “seasonal weather event,” and mentioned that — although there have not been any flash flood warnings this month — more flash floods happen in November than any month in Hawai’i.

“November is the time when you expect these kinds of weather disturbances,” he said.

The key factor behind the recent rains, the first significant downpours this winter, is a low-pressure weather system which had been drifting slowly east over the past day or so, but stalled some 200 miles northwest of Kaua’i.

The storms saturated the soil on the Garden Isle, which was expected to benefit local farmers battling drought-like conditions, weather officials said.

The system, Birshard said, is expected to begin drifting west today. This means by tomorrow, Kaua‘i can expect clearer skies.

County spokeswoman Mary Daubert said yesterday afternoon that no weather-related accidents had been reported.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of State Parks on Thursday suspended the issuance of permits for Na Pali Coast State Park’s Kalalau Trail and camping at Koke‘e and Polihale state parks until further notice due to the storms.

“In the interest of public safety, we are closing these areas until severe weather conditions have passed,” DLNR Chair Laura Thielen said in a statement. “We expect the Kalalau Trail to be slippery and the streams to flood. The access road to Polihale may flood with the heavy rains and there is a potential hazard from branches falling at Koke‘e campground.”

Once weather conditions have improved, and staff have checked the parks for flooding or downed branches, permits may again be issued at a later date, a state news release says. For information, call the Kaua‘i Division of State Parks office at (808) 274-3444.

For a complete weather forecast, see page A2 or visit www.prh.noaa.gov/hnl

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