Feelin’ the heat

LIHUE — While parts of the mainland are bracing for brutal heat waves moving into the weekend, Kauai is looking at regular summer weather with a twist of water vapor.

That’s what is making it feel hot and a bit sticky and inspiring people to get themselves to a beach for some sea breeze and relief.

And while forecasts are hailing intermittent showers throughout the next six or seven days on the windward sides of the island, the leeward side is just starting to step out of drought.

National Weather Service forecasters said Wednesday that the dew point in Lihue has been a bit higher than average lately, but only by a few degrees.

Even that changes the heat index, though.

“The dew point temperature, the point when water droplets condense, it’s a little higher than normal, just by a few degrees. Temperature is in the mid 70s,” said NWS forecaster Gavin Shigesato. “Makes it feel hot.”

For the rest of the week and into the weekend, NWS forecasts intermittent showers as little systems move through the upper levels of the atmosphere.

“That’ll bring more enhanced moisture to Kauai and Oahu,” Shigesato said.

Rainfall is only forecast throughout parts of the day through the weekend, with chances of precipitation hovering around 70% and possible amounts at between a tenth and a quarter of an inch on the windward side.

In discussing the weather for the upcoming week, forecaster Tom Brichard reports showers will likely be mainly on windward sides of the island in “randomly distributed clusters of showery low clouds.”

Saturday and Sunday the NWS forecast shows potential showers in the morning and then cloud cover for the rest of the day.

It’s similar to the patterns that have been sweeping the island for the past week, with intermittent showers and plenty of sun on the Westside.

As far as heat is concerned, Kauai’s been matching daily records intermittently throughout the summer. On June 19 temps in Lihue reached 92 degrees and tied a record high set in June 1996.

In July, three daily records have been tied so far: 86 degrees on July 14 and again on July 15, and 87 degrees tied on July 10 in Lihue.

NWS predicts above average sea surface temperatures are going to contribute to slightly above normal temperatures for the rest of the summer, though, meaning Kauai residents can prepare for a hot stretch of days.

On Kauai, it’ll feel like it’s around 90 degrees, as heat indices reach 89, real temps hit in the high 80s and winds die back to 10-15 mph out of the east.

On the windward side of Kauai, it’s been hovering between moderate drought and abnormally dry for the last few weeks, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center.

A June 5 NWS Drought Information Statement points to a little relief for the Westside, though, with forecasts favoring above-normal rainfall numbers throughout the rest of the summer.

It also highlighted a low pressure system — like those usually seen in October through April — bringing “significant” rainfall to the west half of the main Hawaiian Islands in late June.

That helped alleviate severe drought conditions on Kauai, Molokai and Maui.

“However, a return to dry conditions during this time of year could result in a rapid degradation of vegetation health,” forecasters say in the drought report.

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Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or jelse@thegardenisland.com.

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