Out­look: drought-free

West Hawaii Today - - Front Page - BY EL­IZ­A­BETH PITTS epitts@west­hawai­ito­day.com

KAILUA-KONA — Hawaii has been drought-free since Feb. 27, the long­est the state has gone with­out a drought since Fe­bru­ary of 2016.

Ac­cord­ing to a Na­tional Weather Ser­vice re­port, gauges across the Big Is­land posted a wide range of con­di­tions, but monthly to­tals were in the near-av­er­age range.

Still, North Kona, South Kona and South Ko­hala’s year-to-date to­tals re­mained in the be­low-av­er­age range for rain­fall due to sig­nif­i­cant dry­ness in Jan­uary.

Kevin Ko­dama, se­nior hy­drol­o­gist at the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice weather fore­cast of­fice in Honolulu, said con­di­tions on Hawaii Is­land should con­tinue im­prov­ing.

“Through the sum­mer, (Hawaii Is­land) will be in pretty good shape,” Ko­dama said. “It will be the wet sea­son then, so there is a chance it won’t en­ter into another drought.”

In March, the Kona In­ter­na­tional Air­port gauge reg­is­tered 1.12 inches, 63 per­cent of the 1.78 inch av­er­age.

Ko­dama said while it’s dif­fi­cult to pre­dict the amount of rain­fall at dif­fer­ent dis­tricts on the Big Is­land due to the many microclimates, the March rain­fall to­tals in Kona in­di­cate an en­cour­ag­ing sign that the rain will con­tinue.

Mauna Loa had 4.81 inches in March, up 204 per­cent from its av­er­age of 2.36.

Sad­dle Road Quarry gauge had the high­est year-to-date to­tal on the Big Is­land with 99.08 inches, 271 per­cent of its av­er­age.

On the other side of the is­land, rain­fall was in the near to above-av­er­age range at most gauges in the North Hilo, South Hilo, Puna and Ka’u dis­tricts for the month of March.

For the month of March, the Wa­iaha gauge re­ceived 4.62 inches of rain­fall, 119 per­cent of its monthly av­er­age of 3.87. Ko­hala Ranch saw 1.63 inches, or 158 per­cent of its monthly av­er­age of 1.03. The Kahuka Ranch gauge re­ceived 5.46 inches, 179 per­cent of its 3.05 av­er­age.

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