Tuesday, July 29, 2014         

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Drought not about to let up for islands' leeward regions

By Star-Advertiser staff


Hawaii remains one of the driest states in the country this summer with extreme drought conditions throughout most of the islands.

The National Weather Service said yesterday no near-term drought relief is expected for the leeward areas of the state.

During the past month, "exceptional drought conditions (classification D-4)" continued to expand across leeward sections of the Big Island to include the southeastern portion of Kau, the weather service said. Areas in South Kohala remained unchanged for the past four months.

The western two-thirds of Molokai and the lower elevations of Maui remain under "extreme drought" conditions. "Severe drought conditions" remain in place on Lanai and in Upcountry Maui.

For Oahu the extreme drought classification covers the eastern end of the island, resulting in a mandatory 30 percent reduction in irrigation water use. Very low water levels in the Waimanalo reservoir and several months of low rainfall have resulted in reduction of service hours.

Only Kauai has registered moderate (D-1) drought conditions.

The last time the state was considered drought-free was April 15, 2008.

A long-range forecast issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in June indicated that below-level precipitation would last through summer and into early fall.

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