An urgent weather alert is a warning to people walking outside

An urgent weather alert is a warning to people walking outside

High winds in Hawaii on Tuesday prompted the National Weather Service (NWS) to issue a warning that walking outside in some parts of the state could be dangerous.

The NWS issued an emergency weather alert Monday afternoon. Strong southwesterly winds will create dangerous conditions through Wednesday, especially in high summit areas on the Big Island and on Haleakala on Maui.

“Southwesterly winds across the high peaks of the Big Island and Haleakala on Maui will increase tonight and become very strong Tuesday night and Tuesday,” the warning said. “Strong winds will gradually decrease on Wednesday but may remain high on the Big Island peaks into Thursday.”

The 10,000-foot rocky peak of Mount Haleakala, House of the Sun, on the island of Maui. High winds on Tuesday made walking on Haleakala’s high peaks dangerous.
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Winds are expected to reach 80 mph on the Big Island and 60 mph on Haleakala. However, NWS chief meteorologist John Jelsma said winds could be much stronger, peaking at 100 mph on the Big Island. Newsweek.

Storms are so strong that they can cause injuries when doors are forced open and closed. “The average person can be moved by 67 mph winds, and the average car can be moved by 90 mph winds,” WLS-TV meteorologist Larry Morey reported.

“If your foot is unstable as you move, it will be difficult for you to walk,” Jelsema said.

Stormy weather is common during the winter months, considering that the jet stream turns south over the Hawaiian Islands, Jelsema said.

The NWS alert also urged residents to prepare for road closures and postpone travel to the peaks until the winds subside. Almost the entire state of Hawaii was under a wind advisory, which is less severe than a high wind warning.

Strong winds have created a problem for much of the United States since the weekend, with the biggest concern being the freezing wind chill in the contiguous United States. An Arctic blast has brought bone-chilling temperatures to most states, dropping temperatures in the northern United States to 60 degrees below zero. Cold weather extended to southern Texas, prompting the state’s electricity grid operator to ask residents to conserve energy by not using large appliances such as washing machines.

Hawaii has faced its fair share of extreme weather this winter, including snowfall on the peaks of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa and freezing rain on the slopes of Haleakala earlier this month.

On Tuesday, the Aloha State faced a weather advisory for high waves in addition to a warning for strong winds. The weather service warned that “dangerously large waves” up to 25 feet high were a problem for north-facing beaches on Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Maui and the Big Island through Tuesday evening.

“Expect very strong breaking waves and strong currents. Breaking waves at canal entrances may make navigating the canals dangerous,” the warning read. “Stay away from the beach along affected coastlines.”