Flooding, landslides and even a tornado recently pummeled the Hawaiian Islands.
The National Weather Service in Honolulu confirmed that an waterspout moved onshore as an EF-0 tornado in Lanikai around 7:10 AM local time Friday morning. The twister then continued southwestward, impacting parts of the Enchanted Lakes Subdivision in Kailua.
The tornado damaged or destroyed several roofs, snapped trees, knocked down power lines and destroyed road signs.
Winds associated with the tornado were estimated at 60-70 mph. It had an average width of 20 yards and a damage path that spanned 1.5 miles.
Multiple landslides the last several days have resulted in a deluge, blocking highways in Hanalei, Kalihiwai and Koloa.
Bus service north of Hanamaulu, Hawaii, was cancelled for a time due to the flooding rainfall.
Some of the thunderstorms became so violent that they produced hail with diameters up to 2 inches in Kailua and Kaneohe. Some of the hail-producing thunderstorms have lasted for half an hour.
"What [went on] in Hawaii is a symptom of the change from La Niña to El Niño coming on," according to AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity.
La Niña is a phenomenon classified by below-normal water temperatures of the eastern and central equatorial Pacific Ocean, while El Niño occurs when there is above-normal water temperatures in the same zone.
Temperatures have been warming up in the Pacific over the last month.
"Think of the Pacific Ocean as either a big pot of cold water or hot water," explained AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity. "The water is either going to cool the atmosphere or warm it. Because you are making a change to one area of the atmosphere, everything else has to change around it. Thus, the whole weather pattern changes for the Northern Hemisphere."
When water temperatures warm, the air above it warms, leading to more rising air and thunderstorms in that area. Other areas of the atmosphere will cool with sinking air and calm conditions in response, because the atmosphere is always trying to reach a balance.
"Hawaii holds some of the world's rainiest locations, but over the weekend, things got a little out of control," AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Jesse Ferrell said. "Local rivers and creeks came out of their banks. NWS reports also indicated that a number of roads were closed due to flooding, the Llikai Hotel at Waikiki was set ablaze by lightning, and most incredibly, hail of 1.5 inches in diameter was observed in Honolulu when a rare supercell thunderstorm moved over the island."
Hanelei, Hawaii, received 35.97 inches of rain in just over two days.
The good news for travelers and residents of the state is that a more typical weather pattern is developing and will persist into next week.
The storm that wreaked havoc on the state will continue to track westward away from the Hawaiian Islands, leaving behind a more normal, trade wind pattern for this time of year.
Much drier weather is forecast beginning on Sunday with just the typical trade wind showers from time to time.
This weekend will be one of the busiest travel weekends across the country as millions people head home from Christmas travels.
Just in time for Boxing Day and the weekend, a winter storm is set to dive into the United Kingdom and central Europe with rain and disruptive snow.
A system tracking over the Rocky Mountains will spread snow over the region and into the Plains through the remainder of the week.
While lacking across a large part of the United States on Christmas Day, arctic air is set to make a comeback during the final days of 2014.
On Christmas Day in 1776, George Washington led his troops across the Delaware River, in spite of treacherous weather, for a pivotal moment in the Revolutionary War.
The Northeast (2002)
First snowstorm to affect the region on Christmas day, since 1978. 30 inches fell in Cooperdtown NY, 21" fell in Tobyhanna, PA and 19.5 inches fell in Albany NY.
Trenton, NJ (1776)
Washington crossed ice clogged Delaware, marched on Trenton in driving sleet/snow- storm. 24" had fallen in Virginia, but heavy snow belt veered seaward. British surprised, captured - all recrossed river.
New England (1778)
The Hessian Storm at Newport commenced 0 degrees, 18" of snow, NE gales - 50 soldiers reported frozen or lost - all of New England suffered.