2 weather systems allowing raging wildfires in Hawaii

The state of Hawaii is dealing with enormous wildfires that are being caused by two competing weather systems hundreds of miles away.

The islands of Maui and the big island of Hawaii are dealing with out of control wildfires that have burned thousands of acres and impacted towns and villages.

The Setup

The wildfires are developing due to two competing systems in the Pacific.

About 700 miles to the south is Hurricane Dora. The system is a Category 4 major hurricane with winds of 130 mph.

Several hundreds miles to the north is a huge ridge of high pressure that is dominating the North Pacific.

The difference between the two systems is creating a pressure gradient, resulting in intense winds across the island chain.

The High Winds

High Wind Warnings were posted Tuesday for much of the state, but have been downgraded to Wind Advisories Wednesday morning for mountain areas.

Winds of nearly 70 mph were recorded as winds from the ridge of high pressure rushed southward toward Dora.

The winds also transported very dry air, which has resulted in Red Flag Warnings for much of the islands.

Wildfires quickly developed on Maui and the big island of Hawaii Tuesday, resulting in extensive damage.

The Impact

The fire continued to burn Wednesday morning after ravaging a portion of both islands.

The town of Lahaina on the western side of Maui was significantly damaged, with reports of large sections of the historic area partially destroyed.

Some residents evacuated into the ocean to escape the smoke and fire conditions.

Evacuations continue for portions of Maui and the big island Wednesday.

Firefighters had a difficult time containing the building wildfires as strong winds grounded helicopters and rugged mountain terrain prevented some equipment from entering.

Thousands remain without power Wednesday due to the wildfire and power poles collapsing from the high winds.

Winds will continue to die down Wednesday and weather conditions for firefighting will continue to improve over the next one to two days.

Even in paradise, the weather can turn dangerous. And even though both weather systems were hundreds of miles away, Hawaii felt severe indirect impacts.

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