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Hilo sizzles with record-high heat

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HILO » A record-breaking heat wave that began in late June is keeping things sweltering in East Hawaii.

The National Weather Service says rainfall could briefly cool down the region this weekend, but temperatures are still above what is typical for Hilo, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported.

"It’s definitely not normal," said weather service hydrologist Kevin Kodama.

Hilo either broke or tied 10 separate high-temperature records in late June and July, according to weather service climate data. The latest record was Thursday, when Hilo reached a high of 89 degrees, tying the record for the date set in 1986.

"Especially since July 1, we haven’t had much in the way of solid tradewinds," Kodama said. "It’s been so unusual, we’ve had such clear skies. And how often do you really get that in July in Hilo? It’s supposed to be one of the wettest months of the year in Hilo, second only to March."

A lack of cooling rain and higher-than-average ocean temperatures have contributed to the heat, Kodama said. A typical July should see daily maximum temperatures of about 83 degrees, but this month Hilo hasn’t had a single daily high below 86, he said.

The daily lows have been above average, too, he said, and the high temperatures and lack of rainfall have dried up pasture lands around Kau and Waimea.

A Hawaii County road crew member said Thursday that he hasn’t seen heat like this in his 17 years working with the roads department.

"It’s been very, very hot," said Fono Masoe, shouting over a noisy cement mixer as his crew filled a sidewalk in Hilo. "It never was like this. It’s like the sun is more close to us."

Tradewinds are expected to weaken as the week begins due to a surface high far northeast of the islands being replaced by a new high, the weather service said.

The new high will build during the second half of the week, bringing moderate trades by the end of the week.

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