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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 10:27 a.m., Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Extreme wind, rain expected

By Mike Gordon and Peter Boylan
Advertiser Staff Writers

The new year will get a wet and windy welcome thanks to "a potent cold front" that could rake windward O'ahu and Kaua'i with 60 mph gusts, the National Weather Service said today.


Bring outdoor furniture indoors, secure loose objects.

Cut down rotted or loose tree branches close to buildings.

Monitor news stations for weather warnings.

Source: O'ahu Civil Defense

The wind will be out of the south and should pick up strength early Friday and last through Sunday as the front passes over O'ahu and Kaua'i, said forecaster Roy Matsuda.

Heavy thunderstorms also are in the forecast, prompting warnings from the weather service and O'ahu Civil Defense.

While today was forecast to be mostly sunny, with isolated showers and light southeast winds, the wind was expected to begin blowing tomorrow night at 15 to 20 mph.

By New Year's Eve, high elevations and areas at the base of the Ko'olaus on O'ahu could feel the brunt of the storm and the 60 mph gusts, Matsuda said.

"And the Ko'olaus on the windward side are quite steep," he said. "When the wind gets accelerated downslope, it really gets accelerated."

Leeward locations, including Honolulu, probably will not be hit with such strong gusts, he said.

Matsuda said the heavy rain could prompt flood watches and warnings later in the week.

"Any time you have low pressure, it is quite unstable and very moist," he said.

Matsuda said that there is a chance that the winds and rain will not be as severe as forecast, but he said residents need to prepare for bad weather anyway.

Matsuda said the strong winds could rival those that struck the Islands in January, when winds raked O'ahu with gusts that measured 85 and 60 mph on National Weather Service recording devices.

Those winds snapped 19 utility poles along Kamehameha Highway just outside Wahiawa. Nearly 70,000 electricity customers on O'ahu lost power.

Reach Mike Gordon at 525-8012 or mgordon@honoluluadvertiser.com. Reach Peter Boylan at 535-8110 or pboylan@honoluluadvertiser.com.