East Hawaii News

November Was a Dry Month for the Big Island

December 13, 2021, 6:30 AM HST
* Updated December 12, 12:41 PM
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Most of the rain gauges on the Big Island reported below average rainfall totals for the month of November, according to the monthly precipitation summary from the National Weather Service in Honolulu.

There were a couple of near average totals reported during the month, but much of the island saw less than 50% of the long-term November average.

After more than a year of mostly above average rainfall along the slopes of the South Kona District, rain gauges in the area reported a second consecutive month of below average rainfall in November.

In East Hawai’i, the Papaikou Well gauge had the highest monthly total among the automated sites, with 10.44 inches, or 49% of average. However, the highest overall total came from the Wainaku CoCoRaHS site with a manually recorded November total of 11.99 inches. This site also had the highest daily total of 2.86 inches on Nov. 17.

The Kahua Ranch, Kamuela Upper and Upolu Airport gauges all had their lowest November totals since 2002. The Honoka’a and Waimea sites each had their lowest November totals since 2005.


Despite a dryer November, rainfall totals for the year through the end of last month were near to above averae at most of the gauges on the Big Island, according to the summary prepared by NWS senior service hydrologist Kevin Kodama.


The Pi❛ihonua gauge, with 177.42 inches, or 104% of average, passed the U.S. Geological Survey’s rain gauge at Kawainui Stream (171.71 inches, or 141% of average) for the island’s highest year-to-date total.

Check out maps of rainfall totals for November and year-to-date amounts online.

Conditions were generally dry throughout the main Hawaiian Islands during November. Most areas of the state had below average monthly rainfall totals in what turned out to be a rather late start to the October-April wet season.


The overall dry conditions during most of November resulted in the intensification of drought in portions of the state. For the latest drought information, refer to the Drought Information Statement by clicking here.

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