• Monstorous Kona Low Targeting Hawaiian Islands

    Meteorologist Tom Skilling sounds the alarm!

    Hawaii is facing monster waves and high winds in the next few days. A powerhouse "Kona low" (described below) is behind the meteorological and oceanic mayhem. The storm is threatening huge waves--some as high as 60 feet high on north-facing shores--along with powerful winds. At high elevations (well above those at which resorts are located), gusts over 125 mph are a threat. At resort levels, winds are to build to 20 to 40 mph Sunday with gusts to 60 mph possible.

    Residents and visitors alike are being warned of the threat this weekend. Here's the National Weather Service's text message on the High Wind Watch out for the Hawaiian Islands: https://forecast.weather.gov/showsigwx.php…

    A powerhouse storm to the north and over the open Pacific is responsible for Hawaii's elevated winds and waves--a storm known as a "Kona low". Here's how "Kona lows" were described in an American Meteorological Society paper authored in 2000 by Ian Morrison and Steven Businger of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii:

    Kona lows are subtropical (in other words, "non-tropical") cyclones (i.e. low pressures) that occur during the cool season in the north-central Pacific. The Hawaiian word, "kona", meaning leeward or downwind, is used to describe winds with a southerly component that replace the usually persistent trade wind regime. Historically kona lows have produced a variety of weather-related hazards including heavy rains, hailstorms, flash floods, landslides, high winds, large surf and swell, waterspouts, and severe thunderstorms. "

    You can see the storm's mammoth wind field animated on this windy.com animation: https://www.windy.com/-Wind-gusts-gust…
    And here's a GOES-17 satellite animation courtesy of CIRA-RAMMB out of Colorado State.

    Paul Corleone flagged the National Weather Service Forecast for Bradshaw Army Air Field at the 6,190-ft level of the Big Island of Hawaii. It includes the threat of wind gusts as high as 145 mph Sunday, 130 mph Sunday night and 115 ft. Monday. (Note: The Air Field is well above the elevation of Hawaiian resorts. It's important to note winds at resorts, while strong, won't reach the speeds indicated in this forecast.)

    Here's the coverage of the high surf/high wind event from Hawaii's Star Advertiser newspaper: https://www.staradvertiser.com/…/cha...nderstorms-t…/

    What follows are links to a series of live Hawaii webcam views of the wind whipped Pacific on the north end of Oahu Island: