Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Honolulu, HI
FXHW60 PHFO 242003
Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Honolulu HI
1003 AM HST Mon Apr 24 2017
A ridge north of the islands will maintain moderate to fresh east
southeast winds into midweek. Limited shower activity is expected
through Tuesday. From Tuesday night onward, more windward and mauka
showers are expected, with the potential for a period of unsettled
weather this weekend.
A 1027 mb surface high is centered about 1400 miles east
northeast of Hawaii with a ridge axis passing about 400 miles
north of Kauai this morning. This weather setup is driving
moderate to fresh east southeast winds over Hawaii.
Water vapor imagery shows an upper level low just west of the
state. The subtropical jet along the south and eastern flank of
the low will bring thin cirrus clouds over Maui and the Big Island
today. This low will track east over the islands today and push
the high cloud cover east of Hawaii by tonight. Early morning
soundings shows a dry and stable midlayer of the atmosphere
effectively limiting the influence of the upper low on our weather.
The Lihue sounding showed a relatively low precipitable water
value of 1.08 inches with a 5700 foot inversion, with even drier
and more stable conditions upstream at Hilo.
The dry and stable weather is expected to continue today into
early Tuesday afternoon. The east southeast flow will maintain
strength and could possibly bring in a few windward clouds and
showers at times, but any rainfall will be light. By Tuesday
night, the high to the east northeast will begin to slowly track
westward and push a weak surge of clouds and showers over the
state. These clouds and showers will focus over the windward and
mauka areas, but it`s possible a few stray showers could track
over the leeward areas of the smaller islands. Clouds and showers
will continue streaming in over windward slopes on Wednesday and
A cold front will approach the state from the northwest on Thursday
night. Winds will weaken and briefly shift out of the southeast
ahead of the front on Thursday. The moisture tracking in with the
east southeast flow will form a pre-frontal band over the Big
Island, Maui County and Oahu Thursday night and Friday and begin
to dump heavier rain over these islands. The front will reach
Kauai on Friday with strong north winds filling in behind it.
Forecast details into this weekend are a bit hard to pinpoint as
long range forecast models continue to show differences (significant
in terms of how it affects our weather). Both GFS and ECMWF track
a cold and deep low pressure system towards Hawaii from the north
that would destabilize the atmosphere with a lot of moisture
already in place over the islands. However, location of the
weather features are bouncing in different places model to model
run. In general, we anticipate a wetter than normal and unsettled
weather through the weekend over the islands. We will focus on
more details as the event time draws closer.
VFR conditions will dominate today under a rather dry and stable
trade wind flow. A low to mid level ridge is generating an
inversion around 5,000 to 7,000 ft, and a surface ridge about 350
nm north of Kauai is producing generally moderate trade winds.
Since low level moisture is limited, expect isolated MVFR
ceilings to be confined to windward terrain, as well as leeward
slopes of the Big Island during the afternoon.
Border line conditions for turbulence AIRMETs will hold during the
next couple of days. Easterly winds near and just below the
inversion will hover in the 20 to 25 kt range and will produce
some low level turbulence to the west of terrain, especially
around the Big Island and Maui. An upper level trough overhead
will generate high clouds over the eastern end of the state today
and may produce moderate turbulence aloft tonight, roughly
between FL300 and FL400 along and north of the band of high
clouds. We will closely monitor pilot reports.
There will be a series of small, short period northwest swells
through Friday with open ocean swell heights of 3 to 4 feet with
periods in the 11 to 13 second period range. Easterly trade winds
will continue to produce short period choppy surf along east facing
shores through Thursday.
A series of small, long period south swells can be expected
through Thursday with open ocean swell heights of 1 to 2 feet
with periods in the 15 to 20 second period range. A slightly
larger, long period south swell is expected to arrive late
Thursday or Thursday night. Open ocean swell heights are expected
to be at least 3 feet. Surf heights may reach High Surf Advisory
levels during the peak of the swell. This swell will linger on
through the weekend. Another moderate size south swell is on tap
for early next week.
A Small Craft Advisory is currently posted for the waters
surrounding The Big Island as winds are generally running in the
20 to 25 kt range. We expect these conditions to continue for the
next couple of days with winds speeds dropping off during the
second half of the week as a front approaches the area from the
Small Craft Advisory until 6 AM HST Tuesday for Alenuihaha
Channel-Big Island Windward Waters-Big Island Leeward Waters-Big
Island Southeast Waters.