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Officials say Kauai still in drought despite recent rains

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LIHUE >> Kauai is still under drought conditions, despite greener pastures and recent rainfall connected to Tropical Storm Ignacio.

Lihue finished August unofficially with 9.84 inches of rain, a vast improvement from last year’s 1.4 inches, the Garden Island reported (http://bit.ly/1XoJpUg).

“We had a pretty good August (for rainfall),” said Keith Komar, meteorologist technician at the Lihue weather station. “Most of the rain came that night we had the thunderstorms (Aug. 30) when Lihue Airport picked up 1.16 inches.”

But while some parts of the island have been drenched, not everywhere fared as well. Leeward areas of Kauai reported very little rain, with most areas seeing less than an inch for the period ending Sept. 1.

“After checking with the Farm Service Bureau, there are improving conditions where some of the dry areas, or D0 (dry, but not drought) areas were trimmed back, including Niihau island,” said Kevin Kodama, hydrologist with the Weather Forecasting Office in Honolulu. “But this wasn’t enough to make a difference in terms of grass growing back strong, so although some of the D0 areas were trimmed back, we did see some improvements, which will be indicated in the next drought impact statement on Sept. 10.”

The National Weather Service has continued its severe drought conditions for portions of Kauai, including areas from the lower elevations from Hanapepe to Kalepa Ridge. Vegetation and pasture conditions in that area remain poor.

“The rains we had in August helped make a dent in the drought,” Komar said. “But we’re not out of the woods, yet. It did help fill some of the reservoirs and aquifers.”

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