LIHUE – Palani Bukoski is an electrician for the Department of Water and is certain it’s unseasonably hot on Kauai for this time of year.
“I stay in the shade,” Bukoski said.
Shania Zablan agreed.
“It’s been really hot,” Zablan said.
The Kapaa High School junior appreciates her air conditioned classes. But it’s a whole different story when she returns home.
“We have air conditioning, but we don’t use it. It’s too expensive,” Zablan said. “I sit in front of a fan and get a lot of breeze. And I drink ice water cause it keeps me cooled down longer than usual.”
Robert Ballard, science and operations officer with the National Weather Service in Honolulu, said it’s not necessarily the temperature that’s been causing discomfort so far during the first part of September.
The normal maximum and minimum temperatures for September are 87 and 74 and this month, the averages are 86.4 and 73, Ballard said. But it’s the lack of trade winds and the dew point or moisture in the air that he blames for the sweat-inducing weather.
“There is a little more humidity in the air than we’re used to,” he said. “When you get into the low 70s at sea level for dew point, the air can get thick and uncomfortable.”
The highest heat index Thursday was 93, due to the 71 dew factor and temperature of 87.
“That means it feels more uncomfortable than an 87 degree reading,” Ballard said.
That dew point measurement, combined with lower than normal wind speeds of 7 or 8 miles an hour — less than the average windspeed of 13 miles per hour — have created the sticky situation.
“September is typically one of the more uncomfortable months in Hawaii, weather wise,” Ballard said.
Gordon Karau of Koloa has what he considers the ideal solution for the September weather conditions.
“I go to the ocean three times a day; morning, noon and night,” Karau said with a laugh and the wipe of his perspiring brow.
Faith Campbell, spokeswoman for Wilcox Medical Center, said the best ways to protect yourself from heat stoke is to stay hydrated, wear proper clothing including headwear and be aware of your time in the sun, taking frequent breaks out of the direct sunlight.
“You should also monitor your sweat and remember to drink extra fluid to compensate for the water loss from sweat,” she said.
Jennifer Heu said it’s been much harder to sleep at night and the heat seems to have made her more moody than usual.
“I go to the gym ‘cause there is AC there,” Heu said. “It feels like a long duration of heat, with no let up.”