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I. M. Shiromani Jayawardena, Yi-Leng Chen, Andrew J. Nash, and Kevin Kodama

Abstract

The anomalous circulation patterns during an unusually prolonged stormy-weather period in Hawaii from 19 February to 2 April 2006 are analyzed and are compared with those of two previously known prolonged heavy-rainfall periods (March 1951 and February 1979). The circulation patterns for these three periods are characterized by 1) a negative Pacific–North American (PNA) pattern in the midlatitudes with a blocking high southwest of the Aleutian Islands, 2) retraction and splitting of the zonal jet into a polar jet north of 50°N and a persistent subtropical jet to the south over the central Pacific Ocean, 3) an anomalous low west of the Hawaiian Islands embedded in the subtropical jet, and 4) a weaker-than-normal Hadley circulation in the mid-Pacific. The moisture advected from low latitudes by the southerly wind component east of the persistent anomalous low, combined with upward motion, provides the large-scale setting for the unusually prolonged unsettled weather across the Hawaiian Islands. For all three cases, the prolonged stormy weather started after the onset of large-scale blocking and a negative PNA pattern over the North Pacific and the occurrence of a persistent anomalous low embedded in the subtropical jet west of the Hawaiian Islands. Furthermore, the persistent low was located at the optimal position to bring moisture from the central equatorial Pacific to Hawaii. The stormy weather ceased after the midlatitude blocking pattern weakened and the anomalous low in the subtropics decayed and/or shifted westward. There are no apparent common precursors in the 2-week period prior to the prolonged stormy weather among these three cases, however.

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