Last month’s weather may have been great for the beach, but the lack of rain made it the driest January on record in several locations in Hawaii.
“Drought impacts, mainly to the agriculture sector, started on Kauai, Maui and the Big Island and will likely spread and intensify over the coming weeks,” the National Weather Service said in a monthly precipitation summary.
All of Oahu’s rain gauges recorded below average rainfall. Only .03 inches fell at the Honolulu Airport, about 1 percent of the normal 2.3 inches for January, setting a new record for the month.
The weather service said all of the rain gauges at lower elevations on Oahu — from Downtown Honolulu to Waianae — got less than 10 percent of normal rainfall. The highest rainfall total of 5.6 inches was recorded at Poamoho, but that is still 31 percent of the average for January.
Besides the airport, rain gauges in Palisades, Waipio, Kunia, Waianae Kawiwi, Lualualei, Mililani and Aloha Tower also set driest January records.
The neighbor islands are also seeing record low rainfall.
All of the gauges on Kauai posted below average rainfall with most monthly totals at less than 20 percent of the January average. Mount Waialeale recorded just 3.38 inches, making it the driest January, the second lowest total behind the 2.93 inches in 1978.
Maui County also recorded below average rainfall at all locations. Lahaina and Kula set records.
On Hawaii island, rainfall was below 30 percent of average at all locations in January, with leeward areas recording less than 10 percent of the average rainfall for the month.
The dry conditions in Hawaii can be blamed on El Nino, the warming of the Pacific Ocean.
High pressure over the islands kept the rain systems that have been hitting the mainland away from the state.