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Drought fears rise as lack of January rain sets records


    Tourists enjoyed the sunny skies over Waikiki beach last month. But the lack of rain is setting records and raising drought fears.


    Tourists enjoyed the sunny skies over Waikiki beach last month. But the lack of rain is setting records and raising drought fears.

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.

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  • What planet are they reporting on? I live near Aloha Stadium and the rain has never stopped. It’s getting ridiculous. I keep asking myself, where is this drought they’re talking about? It’s getting old having to walk in wet, muddy grass every morning. Sure, it’s nice not having to water the grass, but seriously.

    • It’s about “FEAR”. That’s the new trend! If our AG water and Drinking Water are, in fact, in danger–it’s because of the ridiculous overpopulating of Hawaii. We can’t have ongoing Development with absolutely no regard for our water supply-systems and no regard to our failed Infrastructure(s). Government needs to choose–either “Tourism” or ongoing Residential Development. We can’t have both without addressing Drinking Water and Ag Water. Not only is THE RAIL a BOONDOGLE–the irresponsible spending on that BOONDOGLE has failed the citizens of Hawaii and very soon we will have no Drinking Water and Ag Water and be backstroking through our own feces…

      • (cont) for the the last six months, because of El Nino. I love the nightly light rain in Mililani, which keeps things green, the days cool, and replenishes the acquifer. If you don’t like rain, move to Ewa Beach or Las Vegas.

        • I love rain. Part of why I moved to Manoa 35 years ago. I have had to install a sprinkler system and a city back up for my catchment because it rains soooo much less in Manoa than in the past.

  • Last week Waikiki Beach was washing away. Fear of Dengui fever is now turning into fear of Zika virus. Kids have to be vaccinated against STD’s. The Train is going to drown us in debt.
    Now we have headlines pronouncing a coming draught. The locusts must be next!

  • The drought conditions are easy to spot. Going to have a BIG problem especially if Caldwell whacks out the rest of the aina without building a desalination plant for the westside.

    • I agree, rainfall has been plentiful in Hawaii Kai from the latter part of last year to present despite dire warnings from the NWS of a dry winter due to El Nino. I sometimes wonder if the NWS and Board of Water Supply are in cahoots and fudge their data so they can say “the sky is falling” every year and as a result, people will conserve water from now to forever. Although it is inherently a good idea to conserve, something is not kosher with their claims at times.

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