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Isle experiences an arid April

So much for April showers.

“It was dry last month. That pretty much sums it up,” said Kevin Kodama, senior hydrologist at the National Weather Service in Honolulu.

The weather service’s monthly hydrology report, issued Thursday, shows all but a handful of Big Island spots receiving well below their April rainfall norms. That follows a March that was even wetter than usual.

The gauge at Hilo International Airport measured 7.8 inches of rain last month — 68% of its April average of 11.54 inches.

Glenwood, in the upper Puna rainforest, received 12.7 inches, just a bit more than half its normal rainfall for April.

Along the Hamakua Coast, Laupahoehoe had 11.92 inches in April, but that’s just 70% of its norm of 17.15 inches.

The exceptions were on the usually drier west side of Hawaii Island.

Upslope Kona experiences its wet season in the summer. Two coffee-belt gauges, Waiaha and Honaunau, received almost double their average April rainfall, with 6.95 and 7.97 inches, respectively.

Puuwaawaa also tallied nearly double its normal rainfall, with 4.58 inches.

But not every leeward rain gauge shared in the bounty.

Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole, where arriving visitors are almost always welcomed by a sun-drenched tarmac, received just 1.08 inches of rain, 79% of its arid norm of 1.36 inches.

Some areas were even drier, relatively speaking, and are experiencing drought, according to Kodama.

Waikoloa measured just 0.36 inches of rain, 36% of its norm of just above an inch.

Kohala Ranch and Kahua Ranch are both hoping for cloudbursts, with Kohala Ranch receiving less than a half-inch of rain, only 66% of its average April.

Kahua Ranch tallied 1.49 inches, but that’s just a quarter of its norm of 6.23 inches for the month.

“We have severe drought … in the South Kohala district. Not a big area, but the area just didn’t get rain like other parts of the state,” Kodama said. “And so while there was some recovery earlier in the year, the March rainfall missed them. They didn’t get the rain like the windward side or even Kona, for that matter. And that’s not just from our rain gauges. I’ve been getting reports. (Department of Land and Natural Resources) folks have been sending me pictures and other folks on the ground in that area have been saying the grasslands have been pretty dry.

“They were in D1, which is first-stage moderate drought a couple of weeks ago, but from (Thursday), they went into severe drought, D2.

“I know they’re concerned because we’re heading into the dry season, and the likelihood of relief is not real high, barring a tropical cyclone or remnants or something like that,” he concluded.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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