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Pacific ENSO Update

4th Quarter, 2010 Vol. 16 No. 4


HI Flag
State of Hawaii
Seasonal Precipitation Summary

Persistent trade winds throughout August and September 2010 have provided sufficient rainfall for windward areas of the Hawaiian Islands. However, most leeward areas statewide remained very dry. Exceptional drought, or D4 category on the U.S. drought monitor map, continued in the South Kohala district and the southeast portion of the Kau district on the Big Island. Pasture and general vegetation conditions have remained poor on Lanai, Maui, and on the leeward portion of the Big Island. Extreme drought conditions are still present in most of Maui County, the eastern end of Oahu, and the east and southeast slopes of Kauai. This drought state in Hawaii has led to increased deterioration of pastures in Kauai, Lanai, and Maui and a 30% cutback in irrigation water use in Oahu and Molokai. Effects from the exceptional drought on the Big Island include a declining population of the endangered Palila bird, and ranchers hauling water for livestock sustenance.

Over the past 12 months, the ongoing drought has significantly affected a wide range of agricultural products, including cattle, coffee, avocados, rambutan, bananas, corn, macadamia nuts, loquat, and jaboticaba. Only drought-resistant trees and crops have managed to produce well.

End-of-the-month rainfall in September 2010 bettered conditions in the Kona district and filled water catchments. This has improved the growing conditions in the coffee belt, but overall rainfall is still below normal. Additionally, rainfall has been above average along the Koolau Range on Oahu.

Hilo and Kapapala Ranch remain on pace for the driest year on record, with Hilo rainfall at 37.05 inches through September. The normal there is over 90 inches. The record for the driest year at Hilo is 68.09 inches from 1983. Kapapala Ranch is at 5.41 inches through September, and the normal is 42 inches. Kapapala Ranch’s record is 13.42 inches from 1998.

Additional individual rainfall station information and specific island information for Hawaii can be found in the Monthly Precipitation Summaries.

Hawaii Rainfall Summary for Select Stations, 3rd Quarter 2010

Station  
Jul.
Aug.
Sep.
3rd Qtr
Lihue Airport
Rainfall (inches)
1.12
1.32
1.33
3.77
% of Normal
53%
69%
49%
56%
Honolulu Airport
Rainfall (inches)
0.38
0.14
0.63
1.15
% of Normal
76%
30%
85%
86%
Kahului Airport
Rainfall (inches)
0.08
0.07
0.21
0.36
% of Normal
16%
13%
54%
26%
Hilo Airport
Rainfall (inches)
3.98
4.31
2.75
11.04
% of Normal
37%
44%
30%
37%



Climate Outlook: The US Climate Prediction Center (CPC) indicates that La Niña will be a primary influence in the drier-than-normal condition predicted through November of 2010. It is then predicted to become wetter than normal from January to April/May of 2011. It should be noted however, that there is more uncertainty in this forecast as compared to last years forecast involving El Niño conditions.

Previous wet seasons with a moderate to strong La Niña are 1999, 2000, and 2008. Conditions that have been associated with these previous seasons include: higher-than-normal frequency of trade winds, occasional upper-level lows producing heavy rains, wet conditions primarily affecting windward areas, and leeward areas remaining dry in the 1999 and 2000 events.

Drought recovery is more likely on smaller islands (Kauai to Molokai) and over windward slopes of the Big Island and Maui.

The possibility of drought continues through the wet season, especially over leeward areas, if conditions remain similar to 1999 and 2000.

The next long-lead forecast will be issued on October 21, 2010.



Pacific ENSO Applications Climate (PEAC) Center
c/o NOAA NWS - Weather Forecast Office Honolulu
2525 Correa Road, suite 250
Honolulu, HI 96822
(808) 956-2324

Web Master's email: peac@noaa.gov
Page Last Modified: January 28 2011 23:17:41 GMT

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