East Hawaii News

Amid dismal rainy weather in East Hawai‘i beauty can be found

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Visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park watch as steam bellows from Halema‘uma‘u crater of Kīlauea volcano. Photo by J. Wei/National Park Service.

Set to the tune of “Part Of Your World” from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”

We’ve had gray skies and rainfall a-plenty. We’ve had snow on the mauna galore. Want soggy days and nights? We’ve had nearly 20! It’s been rough. That’s for sure.

We wanna be where the storm clouds aren’t. We wanna see, see the sun rays shining; walking around not wet but — what do you call it? Oh yeah, dry!

Whining about it hasn’t gotten us far. It just keeps raining and even pouring. Breathe and take another — stick with us here — look.

Go for a hike, get in some fun, even though itʻs not all said and done. It sounds crazy, but there is still beauty in our part of the world.


• • • • •

Yes, it’s still raining in many parts of the Big Island. It might even still be snowing at times at the summits of Maunakea and Mauna Loa. It’s been more than two weeks now since the deluge began, with some people on social media reporting 30 or more inches of rain measured by their gauges since mid-February. (Thank you, Puna Weather on Facebook!)

Mother Nature has teased many of us with a few breaks, psyching us out with sunny and blue skies, before 10 minutes later turning the faucet back on full blast. It’s been cold and windy. The weather has definitely been more than a bit dismal.

That doesn’t mean, however, we have to be.

“Have you ever hiked in a rainy rain forest?” asked Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in a Facebook post shortly before 11 a.m. Thursday. “It may sound crazy, but trust us, it’s an unforgettable experience!”


Picture it: The entire floor of Halema‘uma‘u crater of Kīlauea volcano steaming as rain falls on the hot lava lake inside with the snowy peaks of Mauna Loa volcano providing a backdrop you won’t see during the summer.

A snowcapped Mauna Loa is seen from Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Photo by J. Wei/National Park Service.

“Not only is it peaceful, with sounds of raindrops falling on the leaves of the ʻōhiʻa trees, but the recent rainfall has created some stunning views in the national park,” the park wrote.

Jenn Jelinek added to the park’s sentiment in a reply to the post: “The rain/overcast sky really brings out the rich colors, too. We went through [Kīlauea Iki] when it was rainy-ish and I was so glad!”

“I love hiking the trails in the rain,” said Yvonne Baur, who likes to hike rain or shine and shared the park’s post in the We Love Kilauea and Mauna Loa Volcanoes Facebook group. Janice Lulay added in a reply another perk of hiking or visiting the park when it’s raining: there’s not many other people around.

There’s also a nice reward, Baur said: “A lot of rainbows.”


“But remember, safety first!” the park reminded. “Make sure to wear appropriate clothing and footwear, and stay alert for any weather warnings or advisories.”

You can visit the park’s website for more information about the weather before you go.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park’s post also offers another message to those thinking enough with the rain and gray, cloudy skies already, OK? It reminds us that if you look at it from a different perspective, there can be beauty found in weather that otherwise isn’t. Several photos shared on various social media sites throughout the past few weeks provide gorgeous examples.

Orange sunsets in between downpours, warming you up even though it’s only about 65 degrees outside. Deep blues, purples and greens in images of the stormy sky meeting the sea on the horizon with waves crashing on the shoreline. Messages of “aloha” written in a rare white blanket of snow on the front hood of a vehicle parked at the Maunakea Visitor Information Station following a rare dusting of the wintry precipitation. Even Lake Waiʻau atop Maunakea just after sunset surrounded by snow with the moon and star-crossed lovers Jupiter and Venus shining brightly above with a clear starry backdrop.

  • A message of “aloha” is written in snow on a vehicle’s hood Feb. 28 at the Maunakea Visitor Information Station. Photo by Keith Kefford
  • Lake Waiʻau atop Maunakea on the Big Island sits under a starry sky Feb. 22, with the moon, Jupiter and Venus aligned above. Photo by Josh Ha‘o.
  • “Hawaiian Winter Storm” by Beau Jack Key.
  • A sunset from Ocean View on Feb. 18 as a Kona Low storm passes over the Big Island. “Looked more like a lava flow,” said Stone Love, who took the photo.
  • A snowcapped Maunakea on Feb. 20. Photo by Stephen Green (follow him on Instagram @scgreen50)
  • This photo of sunset was taken at Kāʻanapali beach on Maui during the recent Kona Low storms that socked the Big Island and Maui. Photo by Lou Carter

All the rain on the east side and rivers raging because of it mixed with sunlight — no matter how brief it has been sometimes lately — also have provided the perfect recipe for some amazing waterfalls and at times rainbows.

There have been so many absolutely beautiful images shared alongside all the pictures and posts of flooding, damage and other storm stories that we could likely feature one or two a day for at least a couple of months.

It is also pertinent, despite how much and how long it’s rained this time around, to keep in mind that it is wet season in East Hawai‘i. The National Weather Service also predicted the rainy months of October through April would see above-average rainfall.

So maybe it’s time to change our outlook on the recent weather and see the bright side — even if Mother Nature doesn’t want to share it with us right this moment.

“Let’s make most of this rainy season and enjoy the beauty it brings,” the park said in its post.

There’s also some good news from the National Weather Service for the soggy windward side of the Big Island.

Gusty trade winds will continue to weaken throughout much of the state today, with lighter winds expected during the weekend. Showers will continue with locally heavy rain and thunderstorms possible at times through today, but a series of fronts will move through the islands next week and bring moderate to breezy southwest winds to the state.

Those winds will shift rainfall to leeward and south slopes and coasts, finally bringing relief from the almost constant recent barrage of rain in East Hawai‘i.


• • • • •

Again set to the tune of “Part Of Your World” from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”

What would we give if we could get out of these rains? What would we pay to spend a day warm in the sun? We bet many will understand our frustration with the waters, which have flowed fast since the beginning. We want it to end.

We’re ready to know what other people know. To get out and under a blue sky again. You remember what that’s like? What’s the word? Warm?

It’s soon our turn. It will be nice, nice to not see that rain from up above?

Outside with glee. We can’t wait to be part of that world.

Nathan Christophel
Nathan Christophel is a full-time reporter with Pacific Media Group. He has more than 25 years of experience in journalism as a reporter, copy editor and page designer. He previously worked at the Hawaii Tribune-Herald in Hilo. Nathan can be reached at [email protected]
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