Wow! 519 inches of rain at Waialeale

LIHUE — Cool, dry days and nights are following the wettest year at many Kauai gauges since 1990.

That’s according to reports from National Weather Service hydrologist Kevin Kodama, who said the total rainfall count on Mt. Waialeale in 2018 was 519 inches, 132 percent of the average.

“This substantial 2018 total also resulted in one of the few times in recent years that the running 30-year average for annual rainfall did not decrease,” Kodama wrote in the December Report. “In 1997, the 30-year average annual rainfall at Mount Waialeale was 406.03 inches. By 2017, it had decreased to 362.37 inches before rising a bit to 365.78 inches in 2018.”

According to the NWS Year to Date map, which shows total 2018 total rainfall numbers recorded at U.S. Geological Survey gauges, Kokee accumulated a little more than 100 inches, 160 percent of the average; Kilohana received 192.3 inches, 117 percent of the average; Wainiha received 177.2 inches, 158 percent of the average; and Hanalei recorded 190.3 inches, 220 percent of average.

Kapahi received 137.6 inches in 2018, 141 percent of average; Wailua received 122.5 inches, 152 percent of average, Lihue airport recorded 51.9 inches, 142 percent of average, Poipu recorded 55.9 inches, 157 percent of average, and Waimea Heights recorded 37.4 inches, 179 percent of annual average.

Because of the government shutdown which President Donald Trump ended on Friday, Kodama couldn’t comment on rainfall patterns and averages throughout the year, but did say that the cooler temperatures and current weather patterns are in line with predictions released in the 2019 wet season outlook.

The outlook pointed to ongoing rain in the beginning of the wet season, but the prediction pointed to below average rainfall starting December and moving through the spring.

That could mean drought in some areas by the end of February.

“We’re right in it now, the rainfall is consistent with a developing El Nino,” Kodama said.

April and August brought torrential rains to Kauai, events that bolstered the island’s precipitation numbers and impacted the rest of Hawaii as well.

April 15 rains dumped an unconfirmed 49.69 inches in a 24-hour period over Hanalei, which will be record-setting if the data recorded from the rain gauge can be proven reliable.

That investigation is being handled by the currently furloughed National Climactic Extremes Committee under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or

  1. Lumahai January 26, 2019 7:45 am Reply

    Mt Waialeale used to be the rainiest spot on earth year after year.

  2. Mango Joe January 26, 2019 11:03 pm Reply

    Dry winter means better mango season! Can’t wait for summer!

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