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Weather to improve — for now

LIHUE — With a bit of luck, Kauai should be ringing in the New Year with clear, sunny skies.

The National Weather Service says the wet, windy winter weather that lingered early this week is expected to improve today, with drier conditions holding out through Thursday afternoon.

Chevy Chevalier, meteorological technician for the National Weather Service in Hilo, said today “looks good and sunny,” with highs in the mid to upper 70s. On New Year’s Day, temperatures will remain the same as Wednesday, with wind gusts of up to 30 mph, he said. 

The clear skies should come as a little welcomed relief — albeit brief.

In a 24-hour period ending Tuesday afternoon, Kauai saw showers across the island, from the North Shore to the usually dry Westside. 

In Kalaheo, 0.39 inches of rain fell, while Waimea Heights saw 0.26 inches. In Lihue, 0.11 inches fell compared to just 0.03 in Hanalei.

By Thursday evening, Kauai could be in for more of the same.

According to the NWS’ Weather Forecast Office in Honolulu, Thursday is expected to be mostly cloudy with scattered showers in the evening. 

Chevalier also said that Thursday and Friday will experience an upper level disturbance with a cold front passing over on Saturday. On Friday, there’s also a possibility of heavy rains with thunder storms and higher winds of 10 to 15 mph, which will continue into Friday night and early Saturday. 

“If there are thunderstorms, you’ll want to seek shelter,” said Chevalier. “With heavy rains, you could see some localized flooding. When you’re driving, don’t drive across water covered roads.”

Kauai residents can also expect scattered showers and thunderstorms Saturday. North winds will be 15 to 20 mph Sunday.

The County of Kauai took precautions Tuesday in light of high winds. The Kekaha landfill closed due to the dangerous conditions and is scheduled to reopen today, weather permitting.

Surf is also estimated to be elevated with a mixed swell of eight feet today, but is forecasted to decrease to five feet Friday.

On Tuesday, several kayakers escaped danger after responders reached them during a sudden squall on the South Shore.

Kauai Police Dispatch alerted Ocean Safety and Kauai Fire Department officials about a report of a kayaker who fell out of her boat and was clinging to the hull in an area fronting the 4700 block of Lawai Road at 10:37 a.m. Firefighters reported white out conditions with extreme wind and rain.

According to a county news release, Koloa firefighters responded and discovered a female paddler made it safely to shore and her canoe was later recovered near Hoone Beach.

The 64-year-old Kalaheo woman was one in a group of six one-man paddlers who had set out from Kukuiula Small Boat Harbor, when they were hit with a sudden shift in weather and wind gusts of up to 50 mph.

A search for other possible missing boaters stretched from from Lawai to Shipwrecks Beach. KFD personnel investigated as Air 1 county helicopter and Rescue 3 personnel went on standby at the hanger in Lihue. Others in the group had made it safely to shore with the assistance of bystanders.

None of the six paddlers required medical treatment, according to the county report.

A Flash Flood Advisory was then posted just before 2 p.m., Tuesday, but the advisory was allowed to expire at 4:15 p.m., when the radar showed that the heavy rains were no longer a threat.

Reporter Tom LaVenture contributed to this report

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