Here comes the rain

LIHUE — When it rains on the North Shore, Dave Hosking doesn’t mind. Not at all.

“We have more business on cloudy days,” said Hosking, general manager of Kauai Miniature Golf and Botanical Garden. “It’s a great alternative to the beach.”

And sure enough, despite a wet Monday morning, about 150 people played through the course by the afternoon, he said.

“The rains here aren’t uncomfortable,” Hosking said. “I always tell people one of the most fantastic things to do is to play in the rain at night — the way the lights hit the water, it’s pretty.”

If forecasts hold out, there should be plenty of rounds played at Kauai Miniature Golf. Rain is expected through Friday, with today being particularly damp.

“The tradewinds are back, so that helps a bit in terms of bringing in moisture,” said Bob Burke, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oahu.

Rain would bring welcome relief to Kauai, as it’s been unusually dry so far in 2016.

The year-to-date rainfall at the Lihue Airport is .35 inches. The average amount of rainfall for this time of year is 5.29, he said.

Last month, the airport had its lowest January total since 1986, receiving .32 inches of rain, according to a NWS of Oahu report. All 26 gauges on the island posted below average rainfall, the report said.

Most businesses on Kauai, like Blue Hawaiian, say sunshine helps them turn a profit.

“To date, our seats are filled up to 6 percent more than they were last year,” said Gregg Lundberg, president of Blue Hawaiian Helicopters.

Lundberg credits that increase with the dry weather.

“Weather is our biggest hindrance, so whenever it’s dryer, its good for us,” he said.

Because of early rain, the company canceled some flights Monday, Lundberg said. But most of the time, people are willing to wait adverse weather out, he said.

“If it looks like we’ll be stuck inside all day, we’ll call it quits early, but if it’s something that will blow through, we try to wait it out,” he said. “Weather changes so much in Hawaii, you never know what’s going to happen.”

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