East Hawaii News

Most of Big Island saw drier than average conditions in February

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The first week of March was soggy on the windward side of the Big Island.

According to preliminary data from the National Weather Service in Honolulu, the Hilo area alone received nearly 10 inches of ran from March 3-7. For the month so far, Hilo has seen just more than 10 inches of rain, which is about 7 inches more than normal.

The greatest 24-hour preliminary rainfall total for the week in the Hilo area was 3.95 inches between March 6 and 7.

What a difference just a few weeks can make.

Most rain gauges on the Big Island saw below-average rainfall totals in February, with exceptions along the slopes of Hāmākua and Kona, which saw near to above-average amounts.

The Hilo Airport gauge recorded just 4.23 inches of rain last month, or 41% of its 10.22-inch average.


The other driest gauges in the east and north portions of the island were:

  • Waikōloa, with 0.51 of an inch compared to its average of 1.39 inches.
  • ʻUpolu Airport, which recorded just 0.87 of an inch in comparison to its 3.20-inch average.
  • The Silversword gauge northwest of the Saddle Road Quarry had less than half an inch of rain or 16% of its average of 2.98 inches.
  • Kohala Ranch and the Puhe CS gauge in North Kohala each collected a sparse 0.12 of an inch, or just 11% of their February averages of 1.08 and 1.09 inches, respectively.

The island’s interior was even drier.

All four rain gauges in the Pōhakuloa area were some of the most parched, with just one recording more than 20% of its average. Two others didn’t even collect 10% of their monthly averages and the Pōhakuloa 17 gauge saw basically a trace of rain with 0.01 of an inch for February, just 1% of its average 1.85 inches.

The Ahumoa gauge on the western flank of Mauna Kea at 0.42 of an inch and Pōhakuloa Training Area West gauge, which recorded just 0.16 inch of rain last month, had their lowest February totals since 2010.

The Puʻuanahulu rain gauge had a meager 0.17 of an inch for the month, or 9% of its 1.80-inch average, and the gauge on Mauna Loa, which on average sees 1.04 inches in February, recorded no rain at all.


The U.S. Geological Survey rain gauge at Kawainui Stream in North Kohala had the highest monthly rainfall total of 13.99 inches or 146% of its February average. A manually recorded rainfall total near Honokaʻa from the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network, or CoCoRaHS, had the highest overall monthly total of 14.68 inches.

On the west side, Kona International Airport saw 1.41 inches of rain last month, 121% of its average of 1.17 inches. The rain gauge in Waiaha recorded 4.36 inches, a whopping 172% of its average February total of 2.54 inches. The Kaloko-Honokōhau gauge recorded 1.49 inches of rain in February, which is 132% of its average of 1.13 inches.

The highest daily rainfall total for February on the island was 5.27 inches Feb. 2 at the National Weather Service Honokaʻa gauge.

That daily total provided the main contribution to the monthly total of 13.17 inches, or 163% of its average of 8.06 inches, which was the highest February amount since 2013 at this site.

The highest daily total was 5.27 inches Feb. 2 at the National Weather Service Honokaʻa gauge. That daily total provided the main contribution to the monthly total of 13.17 inches, or 163% of its average of 8.06 inches, which was the highest February amount since 2013 at this site.


To see additional rainfall data from around the island for February, click here.

Drier and more stable conditions kept rainfall totals below average in many areas of the state last month, and much less compared to January.

A weak cold front dropped into the state Feb. 2 from the north and produced 3 to 5 inches of rainfall along the windward slopes of Haleakalā on Maui and the windward Hāmākua and Kohala regions of the Big Island.

A cool, stable airmass with fresh to strong trade winds moved over the state Feb. 3 and remained in place through Feb. 6.

Easterly trade winds veered to a southeasterly direction Feb. 9 as the subtropical high pressure system shifted eastward to a center position roughly halfway between Hawaiʻi and California.

The strongest cold front of the month moved across the main Hawaiian Islands on Feb. 15. North-facing slopes throughout the state picked up about 1 to 3 inches of rain.

After that front passed, a generally benign weather pattern settled in over the state from Feb. 16-23. Fresh to strong trade winds started Feb. 24 and persisted through the end of the month.

Those trades produced rather wet conditions along windward slopes throughout the state, with daily totals reaching 1 to 2 inches in some locations.

There were no significant flood events during February anywhere in the state.

Big Island rainfall totals for 2024 through the end of February were near to below average at most of rain gauges. The Kawainui Stream gauge had the highest year-to-date total of 19.19 inches or 83% of its average February total of 23.12 inches.

For more year-to-date rainfall totals from around the island, click here.

The National Weather Service Hawaiʻi synopsis from just before 4 p.m. Friday said strong and gusty trade winds will persist through this weekend as high clouds stream overhead throughout the islands.

Showers will remain focused over windward slopes, with brief showers periodically blown across leeward areas from Maui to Kauaʻi, and spotty showers developing along the Kona slopes on the Big Island each afternoon.

A period of enhanced rainfall is possible Monday as trade winds decline.

Trade winds will likely be disrupted late Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by a front expected to move down the island chain by about Thursday.

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