East Hawaii News

Like Year Before, Big Island Was Dry in 2013

January 9, 2014, 6:48 PM HST
* Updated January 9, 6:50 PM
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Despite a decidedly wet December, rainfall on the Big Island in 2013 was in relatively short supply.

Of the 35 National Weather Service rain gauges for which data was available, only one – located above the lush valleys of the Kohala mountain – recorded normal levels of rainfall for the year.

The Kawainui Stream gauge, which averages 135.26 inches per year, recorded 136.16 inches or 101% of normal, according to data released by the weather service today.

That was the same situation in 2012, when the gauge above Waipio Valley was the only one to see above-normal rainfall.

The only other areas registering more than 90% were Ahumoa and Waikii, both located on the western end of the saddle between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. Both are fairly arid anyway, with Waikii, the wetter of the two, averaging just over two feet of rain annually.

Hilo, the rainiest city in the nation with average annual rainfall of more than 126 inches, saw just under 102 inches in 2013, 80% of normal.

And that included the more than 20 inches that fell there in December, three-quarters of which came during a storm late in the month.

The usually soggier areas of Waiakea Uka, Pahoa and Mountain View also saw 80% or less of average levels this past year.

Even Ookala, where the Island Dairy gauge recorded more than 32 inches in December – 244% of normal – came up well short of its 151.87-inch annual average. The area registered about 113 inches or 75% of normal in 2013.

And Kona was even drier. Percentage-wise, the wettest spot there was Kainaliu at 37.55 inches, or 69% of average rainfall.

Elsewhere in the state, only Oahu, where about a third of the 47 gauges were at normal or above, fared much better.

Only two of Kauai’s stations saw normal rainfall, while only one in Maui County – Puu Alii on Molokai – reached that mark.

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