Waipa sets national rain record

LIHUE — Officials from the National Weather Service confirmed Wednesday that Kauai broke the U.S. record for rainfall in a 24-hour period in April.

Kevin Kodama, NWS hydrologist, said the Waipa Garden gauge on the North Shore recorded 49.69 inches in the 24-hour period between April 14 and April 15, breaking the previous national record held by Alvin, Texas. Alvin was holding the record at 43 inches in a 24-hour period in July 1979.

Heavy rain in April triggered flooding throughout Kauai, with major damage closing Kuhio Highway on both sides of the Waipa area (near Lumahai Beach) for a massive reconstruction project that is still ongoing.

A little research had to be completed before the new national rainfall record could be announced, and staff with the National Climate Extremes Committee went over information from the Waipa Garden gauge, as well as four nearby gauges to make sure the readings were accurate.

The government shutdown slowed down the progress on that research, but the National Climate Extremes Committee validated the new record Wednesday.

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