Trade winds a-comin’

LIHUE — Born and raised on Kauai, Theresa Medina has never seen it this bad.

By bad, she means hot, humid, sticky and muggy.

“Seventy-four years and it’s the hottest of my life,” the school district custodian said as she raked debris at Elsie H. Wilcox Elementary School under the sun in Lihue on Wednesday. “Even with the wind, it’s so hot.”

It was such an unusually humid September and early October, Medina said she set records for buying water by the case load and has halfway contemplated living outside in the shade. She has even gotten used to, as she described, dripping, not sweating when it come to perspiring while on the job.

“I’m tired of it,” she said.

Relief could be on the way. Beginning today, the trade winds should return to moderate conditions, before increasing from there by the weekend.

A little more rain is in the forecast, too. That should make things feel cooler, said Ian Morrison, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Honolulu.

“We are looking for a wetter trade wind pattern starting later Sunday afternoon and going into the rest of the week,” Morrison said about the seven-day outlook, adding the weather change doesn’t indicate that the humid days are gone forever. “But the winds and clouds will make it feel cooler.”

Kauai has see light winds recently, or those going under 10 miles an hour. When they pick up to moderate today, they should start swirling between 10 to 15 mph.

Breezy is 15 to 25 mph. While Wednesday’s temperature in Lihue was 87 degrees, the dew point in the low 70s made the air seem heavier than normal. Humid conditions are when the dew point and temperatures are relatively close. 

The normal dew point for this time of year is in the upper 60s, Morrison said.

“It has been more humid than normal,” he said, adding that a reason for the high dew point has been the higher than normal ocean temperatures for this time of year.

And it feels even hotter. Temperatures in the upper 80s factored with dew points in the lower 70 gives a heat index in the low 90s.

“It wouldn’t be so bad if it cooled off at night,” said Bill McCune, checking the elevation on a driveway project Wednesday afternoon. 

How bad has it been? Wednesday’s temperature was 1 degree off the day’s record in 1957, according to preliminary NWS data. 

Beside that, it leaves people a little on edge when there’s no escape from the heat, McCune said. So the increased trade winds are welcome news. 

“I think everyone might be a little more irritable,” he said. “The phrase ‘chill out’ might be perfect.”

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