Monday weather packs wallop

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch Monday for Kauai, Niihau and Oahu, effective through 6 p.m. today.

An upper level low pressure north of the state will continue to bring unstable conditions and unsettled weather to the islands, states a release from the NWS.

Locally, heavy rainfall is possible, and the unstable atmosphere could produce thunderstorms in the flash flood watch area. These thunderstorms could produce rainfall rates in excess of two inches per hour, which could lead to flash flooding, the NWS said. A flash flood watch means that conditions may develop which lead to flash flooding.

After Tuesday afternoon, the NWS said the air should be more dry and stable from Wednesday through the end of the week for all of Kauai.

“We still have light tradewinds through that stable period and heavier showers will tend to be toward the windward and mountain areas,” said NWS meteorologist Chris Brenchley. “It tends to dry out further west.”

The flash flood watch comes on the heels of a flash flood warning which blanketed the island of Kauai through most of Monday morning before being downgraded at 2:30 p.m.

Students in the Kapaa Middle School, Kapaa High School and the Hanalei Elementary School were let out early in anticipation of the Hanalei River bridge closing due to rising water from the Monday rains.

The American Red Cross, as a precaution, deployed volunteer staff and a support trailer to the Hanalei Elementary School with a representative reporting to the Kauai Civil Defense Emergency Operating Center.

Following the downgrading of the weather warning, the staff has been recalled, but the support trailer will remain at Hanalei School until an assessment is done Tuesday morning.

“A lot of the activity centered around the area past the Hanalei Bridge,” said Sarah Blane, county spokeswoman.

All schools are expected to be open this morning.

Kauai Police Department dispatch received calls of landslides at Wainiha and Puukapele in the Lumahai area along Kuhio Highway around noon, sending state Department of Transportation crews to respond.

Kalalau Trail at Kee Beach was closed by the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources. The closure will remain in effect until DLNR staff can inspect conditions and safety on the trail.

The Kee Beach lifeguard tower closed at 1 p.m. Monday and will reopen when weather permits, Blane said.

Despite the heavy rains, there were no reports of significant flooding. No power outages were reported to the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative.

The heaviest rainfall reported by the NWS was recorded at the Mt. Waialeale recording station where 4.38 inches fell within a 24-hour period ending Monday afternoon.

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