Wet summer

LIHUE — Kauai has seen more than its fair share of rain lately.

A lot more.

Wainiha’s 13.14 inches (182 percent of average) checked in as the highest June total in two decades.

The Mount Waialeale gauge had a monthly total of 44.31 inches (135 percent of average), which marked the wettest June in 11 years.

Kokee’s 6.54 inches (296 percent of average) broke the record for the highest June rainfall total at this site.

“It’s been a wet spring, but that’s not uncommon following a strong El Nino,” said Kevin Kodama, hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Honolulu. “At the end of the last couple of strong El Nino before, we’ve had pretty wet conditions.”

One reason for the rain, Kodama said, is warmer ocean temperatures.

“It puts more moisture in the air coming in,” he said.

Kodama said the weather outlook this summer called for above average rainfall for windward slopes and drier conditions for leeward areas.

“But that forecast got blasted by Darby coming through because you don’t anticipate getting hit by a tropical cyclone,” he said. “We had some wet conditions even in leeward areas.”

Rain gauges on the windward side of Kauai recorded above-average rainfall totals while many of the low-lying leeward gauges posted below average totals for June, according to a National Weather Service report.

The weather is currently in a transitional stage called ENSO-neutral, which is the period between El Nino and La Nina. During these periods, ocean temperatures, tropical rainfall patterns and atmospheric winds are near the long-term average, according to the NWS Climate Prediction Center.

“What we’ve been seeing in an ENSO-neutral state during the wet season, you end up having pretty wet conditions,” Kodama said.

Since El Nino died in December, the projected outlook for La Nina to roll around was during the end of summer, but that has stagnated.

“(Forecasters are) still anticipating La Nina. But instead of having it at 75 percent chance by the fall, it’s now looking like 55 to 60 percent,” Kodama said. “There are some models say that we might not see La Nina.”


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