A powerful storm system pounded Hawaii on Monday with heavy rain, and forecasters warned of a chance for “dangerous” and “catastrophic” flooding in some parts of the state.
The National Weather Service said, “a kona low – a drastic winter storm on the islands – will linger west-northwest of Kauai Monday morning, making its way westward through Wednesday and bringing heavy rain.”
“Expect widespread heavy rainfall with this system, especially under the large heavy rain band, capable of producing catastrophic flooding, and strong gusty southerly winds through Wednesday,” the agency said.
Over two feet of rain is possible in some areas; widespread amounts of 10 to 15 inches are likely.
Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth declared a state of emergency for his island, warning residents about the threat of significant flooding, high winds, and thunderstorms, Hawaii News Now said.
Ahead of the storm’s worst impacts, Gov. David Ige on Sunday urged residents to prepare for the potential of major flooding, landslides, road closures, and damage to homes.
Maui County public schools canceled classes Monday, while Kamehameha Schools, a private school system in Hawaii, said it would be closing its Hawaii Island and Maui campuses, preschools, and offices.
In a Twitter thread on Sunday, Hawaii Governor David Ige said preparations were underway for emergency officials to respond to any impacts from the kona low weather system.
“This storm has the potential to cause major flooding, landslides, road closures, and damage to homes,” Ige warned. “Now is the time to make sure you have an emergency plan in place and supplies ready should you need to move away from rising water.”