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Kona low dumps more than 12 inches on Mount Wai‘ale‘ale

LIHU‘E — A pair of moisture-packed Kona lows dumped some serious water on the Hawaiian Islands last month, with one 24-hour total on Kaua‘i exceeding a foot of rainfall.

Mount Wai‘ale‘ale, which is often referred to as one of the rainiest places on the planet because it averages more than 400 inches annually, received 12.54 inches of rain in the 24-hour period that ended at 8 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 21.

The reading was the highest for the 24-hour period on Kaua‘i, as well as any other location in the Hawaiian Islands, according to data compiled by the National Weather Service office in Honolulu. Kaua‘i also ranked second, third and fourth in the period.

North Wailua Ditch recorded the second highest amount of rainfall across the island chain at 9.53 inches in the 24-hour period, followed by Waiahi rain gage at 8.09 inches and Wai‘alae fourth at 6.46 inches. Poamoho Rain Gage No. 1 on O‘ahu rounded out the top five at 5.20 inches.

“The initial Kona low dissipated and produced a needed break from flooding on Sunday, Feb. 19. However, this break was short-lived, as a new Kona low developed to the northwest of the state. This second low was farther west than the first one, and the heaviest rainfall occurred mainly over Kaua‘i and O‘ahu,” the weather service said in a report on the two rounds of storms.

“Hanalei River once again overflowed and closed Kuhio Highway on the night of Monday, Feb. 20. The highway remained closed during most of the day on Tuesday.”

The initial Kona low pounded Hawai‘i Island, as evidenced by the 22.84 inches received at Nene Cabin in a 72-hour period ended at 8 a.m. on Feb. 19. Keaumo recorded 18.91 inches of rain in the same period, followed by Kapapala Ranch at 16.66 inches.

By comparison, West Wailua Iki on Maui had 3.71 inches of rainfall, while Mount Wai‘ale‘ale on Kaua‘i had 4.85 inches in the same time frame.

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Wyatt Haupt Jr., editor, can be reached at 808-245-0457 or whaupt@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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