Hawaii Island continues to see rain from Hilda

Rainbow Falls (Photo: Valerie Victorine)


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Hawaii Island continues to see rain from Hilda.

On Friday afternoon, both leeward and windward areas saw sporadic heavy rain from South Kona to Honaunau and Pahala to Naalehu.

Kona rains should subside Friday night, but the Hilo side can expect rains to continue into the evening.

A flood advisory is in effect for parts of the island until 8:30 p.m. Friday, and a flash flood watch continues through late Friday night.

Yesterday much of the rain was focused over the east and southeast coastlines as Hilda weakened to a remnant low.

Areas such as Waiakea Uka saw over six inches of rain and Hilo had over three inches. Valerie Victorine shared video of a gushing Rainbow Falls.

However, no major flooding problems have been reported and officials hope it stays that way.

Three charter schools were closed Thursday as a precaution: Na Wai Ola, West Hawaii Explorations Academy, and Kau Learning Academy.

The National Weather Service extended a flood advisory for most of Hawaii County until 6:30 p.m.

Radar and rain gauges showed moderate to heavy rain continuing over portions of the South Hilo and Puna districts at rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour. Small areas of heavy rain also occurred over the upper slopes of Hualalai and Mauna Loa.

Emergency officials monitored conditions closely.

“We have about 40 amateur radio operations out there right now that are doing field observations, supplementing police and fire that are on the ground as well and reporting what they’re seeing as far as rain and other conditions,” said Darryl Oliveira, Hawaii County Civil Defense administrator.

Conditions are not expected to worsen, and rain expected to ease by early Saturday morning.

Officials say the rain was heavier, but nothing too out of the ordinary. There were wet conditions on the roads, but no ponding and while officials are breathing a small sigh of relief, farmers are still waiting it out.

“It’s been a pretty trying year,” said Grayson Inouye, Pacific Floral Exchange. “Iselle damaged all of our greenhouses and it was followed by drought which really really hurt us.”

“We needed rain because there are times we don’t get rain for three to four months,” said Eric Tanouye of Green Point Nurseries.

Farmers say the rain is a welcome sight, just not too much of it. Tanouye says if heavy rain continues for the next 12 hours, it will start to damage his plants.

“The rain in that kind of intensity rips the blooms, so we get economic loss,” he explained. “It’s terrible if you have to work in 18 inches of rain too.”

On Wednesday, the weather was hot and extremely humid with the typical Hilo rain.

According to Hawaii County Civil Defense administrator Darryl Oliveira, residents could still feel impacts such as heavy rain, thunderstorms, even flooding.

He said the south and southeastern parts of the island could see flooded roads and possible road closures.

All agencies continue to monitor the weather and prepare.

“Just making sure their crews are ready to be placed on standby maybe as soon as tomorrow evening so they’re 24-hour availability to respond to flooding issues, road clearing issues, etc.” Oliveira said.

Exactly one week ago, surf was the big concern because of the previous storm, Guillermo.

This time, around officials say that’s not the case, though they continue to stay alert.

Hawaii County fire officials say they had planned to add medic units, hazmat and rescue crews to those areas Wednesday night, but because the storm is moving slowly and has yet to arrive, teams will stand down until further weather develops.

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