Almost unbearable

LIHUE – Jumping in the water, lounging in the AC or enjoying a heaping bowl of shaved ice are just some of the ways people on Kauai are beating the heat and humidity this summer.

“We’ve been here for about a week now and the humidity has really kicked up today, but the shaved ice and staying in the water helps,” said Josh Lesser, a visitor from Los Angeles.

Even though Lesser and his family were in the water all day, conditions were nearly overwhelming. So the Lessers found themselves under the shade at Kalapaki Shave Ice on Monday, enjoying a mango-, pineapple-, lilikoi-flavored cold treat.

They and others have been experiencing a humid summer due to the warmer ocean conditions, according to officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Honolulu.

“If the water is warmer, the air will pick up more moisture,” said Pete Donaldson, meteorologist at NOAA.

NOAA officials said the outlook calls for warmer than average temperatures for the rest of the summer into the fall.

The average daily high for July was 83.4 degrees, slightly lower than the average daily high of 84 degrees.

As of Monday, the relative humidity in Lihue was 76 percent, higher than the average 66 percent. Donaldson said that percentage may rise significantly with rain.

“If it rains, it will tend to make the relative humidity 100 percent,” Donaldson said. “If you get systems like this coming through, especially when we get heavy rain, then it’s almost always going to be very humid.”

Rain from the recent tropical storms also contribute to humid conditions.

“Some of that moisture sticks around even after the rain ends,” Donaldson said. “On Kauai, the windward side is usually going to be more humid than the leeward side. Up in Kokee, it’s going to tend to be much more humid than it would be down by sea level.”

A majority of the rain gauges on Kauai had near- to above-average rainfall totals this year through July, according to a NOAA hydrology report.

For instance, Mount Waialeale had the highest year-to-date total of 191.74 inches, an 84 percent of average, which continued to be the second highest total in the state.

The 5.84 inches logged by the Kokee gauge (262 percent of average) was the highest July total in 22 years.

However, some portions of Kauai have seen little moisture as a few leeward gages from Kalaheo to Hanapepe recorded below average monthly totals. Local reports indicated that vegetation in the Hanapepe and Waimea areas are dry and in need of rainfall.

Bryan Gerald, co-owner of Kalapaki Beach Hut and Wailua resident, recommends jumping in the water if all else fails.

“We have a great resource right here,” he said. “I think in essence, we have such a treat where we can adjust our body heat in a matter of minutes.”

In order to beat the heat this summer, the Centers for Disease Control and prevention recommends taking cool showers, finding air-conditioned shelters and drinking more water than usual.

“For me, I do the kombuchas,” Gerald said. “It’s a nice, refreshing way of saying hello to my inner body.”


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