Trades back, El Nino leaving

LIHUE — Last week was a muggy one on the Garden Island, with almost no trade winds and record-breaking temperatures.

Lihue recorded a record high of 90 degrees on Thursday, breaking the old record of 89 that was set in 2017, according to the National Weather Service. And that wasn’t the only time temperatures shattered records last week.

In fact, Lihue has been routinely reaching and breaking daily heat records through the summer, with temperatures trending at 1 or 2 degrees above the record. Honolulu temperatures are following similar trends, according to NWS.

Aug. 3 brought the first record-breaking day of the month in Lihue, with temperatures recorded at 89 degrees, breaking the record of 88 set in 2017. Daily records were broken again on Aug. 6, 7 and 8.

July also brought temperatures to the brink of record-breaking, and sometimes to record-setting levels.

High temperatures were also tied in May.

The NWS is predicting scattered showers through this week, with high temperatures hitting around 88 degrees, and trade winds expected to pick up on Thursday and Friday.

That means the weekend should be a bit cooler and breezier.

“A weak trade wind flow prevails over most of the state this morning, with a weak, high-pressure ridge located just north of Kauai,” NWS forecasters said Friday. “Little overall change is expected through the weekend, with the east-to-southeast trade winds remaining especially light on the Kauai end of the island chain.”

Meanwhile, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center is showing zero activity in the Central Pacific, and only a few stormy areas in the Eastern North Pacific, with no hurricanes on the radar as of Friday.

And as of Thursday, fewer hurricanes are being predicted in the Central Pacific with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s announcement that El Nino is ending.

“Near-average conditions in the tropical Pacific indicate that we have returned to ENSO-neutral conditions (neither El Nino or La Nina present),” NWS forecasters said.

El Nino is when warmer water temperatures take over in the Pacific, which usually means increased hurricane activity in that region. While the end of El Nino typically means a reduction in hurricane activity in the Pacific, it usually means the opposite for the Atlantic.

Forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center have increased the likelihood of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season to 45% (up from 30% from the outlook issued in May).

At the beginning of May, NWS announced a prediction of 5 to 8 tropical cyclones in the Central Pacific in 2019. The NWS hasn’t updated prediction numbers for the Central Pacific. So far in 2019 two storm systems have crossed into the region — tropical cyclones Erick and Flossie.

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

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