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The Honolulu Advertiser
Updated at 8:55 p.m., Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Thunderstorms may arrive by weekend

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

A cold front northwest of the state is expected to bring heavy rain and possible thunderstorms to the islands beginning late Saturday afternoon.

Moderate trade winds are expected to last through tonight, but will decrease and shift to the south as the front approaches the islands, said National Weather Service forecaster Ian Morrison. The southerly winds will pick up Saturday afternoon and the rain will begin to hit Kaua'i later in the day, Morrison said.

He said the system will then "push through" Kaua'i and affect O'ahu and Maui late Saturday night and Sunday. Along with the rain, Morrison said, there will be a slight chance of thunderstorms.

The fast-moving front is forecast to reach the Big Island Sunday evening, he said. Morrison said he doesn't believe the wind and rain will reach advisory or warning levels.

"They'll be gusty winds from the south, but I don't expect any wind advisories," he said. "For rain, (the front) is going to be moving too fast to create any major flooding. There could be some minor nuisance flooding and lower visibility, so some of your driving conditions could be reduced during the heavy rain and that could create some ponding on the roadways and slippery conditions."

Once the system passes, trade wind weather is expected to return early next week. But Morrison said residents shouldn't put their umbrellas away just yet because another cold front is on the heels of the first front and will bring windy and rainy weather to the islands by Wednesday.

Reach Curtis Lum at culum@honoluluadvertiser.com.