HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Flash Flood Watch is now in effect for the islands of Niihau, Kauai and Oahu as a storm system moves closer to the state from the west. The watch will be expanded to the rest of the state at 6 p.m. Thursday.
A Flash Flood Watch means that conditions may develop that could lead to flash flooding. The National Weather Service said people in low-lying and flood-prone areas, and especially campers and hikers, should pay attention to the latest forecasts.
Forecasters also issued a special marine warning Thursday morning for the Kauai Channel and leeward Kauai waters, as radar showed strong thunderstorms and strong 34 knot winds between Kauai and Oahu.
The thunderstorms and strong southerly winds are actually ahead of a strong cold front still to the northwest of Kauai. The convergence band dropped some heavy showers on the Garden Isle, with the Puu Opae rain gauge in Leeward Kauai recording .78 inch of rain between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. The rain gauge at Mount Waialeale recorded .58 inch during the same period.
A few heavy downpours were also reported around leeward and central Oahu. The Wheeler Army Air Field rain gauge had .40 inch, also recorded between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m.
The increasing southerly winds ahead of storm system will draw up abundant moisture from the deep tropics and bring unstable conditions over the state, ingredients for possible heavy rain and perhaps a few thunderstorms. Forecasters expect the front to move slowly over the state before exiting the Big Island sometime Saturday.
The Weather Service also said the system could bring a mix of rain and snow to the Big Island summit areas of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.
Hawaii's Severe Weather Team will keep you posted with the latest forecasts, on the air and on line.