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Pacific ENSO Update

1st Quarter, 2012 Vol. 18 No. 1


HI Flag
State of Hawaii
Seasonal Precipitation Summary

The State of Hawaii overall in 2011 received a sufficient amount of rain with some exceptions. There seemed to be a line drawn over Maui where to the east (Big Island) received below-normal rainfall, while to the west (Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, and Lanai) collected above-normal rainfall during the first 6 months of 2011. Specifically in the month of May an upper level low abided over top of most of the islands, which cause several thunderstorms. This tripled the normal amounts of rainfall in Lihue (on Kauai) and Honolulu (on Oahu) for the month. The rainfall continued into June, causing the Punaluu Stream rain gauge (on the windward side of Oahu) to report an amazing 8.53 inches in three hours with a total of 10.13 inches in 24 hours on the 5th. The normal rainfall amount for June on Oahu is only 0.18 inches. However, in September and October as the climate shifted back into La Niña status, all islands saw well below-normal rainfall and warmer-than normal temperatures. These conditions negatively impacted any strides made to eradicate drought on the islands (especially on the Big Island and Maui) at the beginning of the year. It should be noted that drought that has been present in some capacity since June 2008 in the State. More rainfall is needed to promote a full recovery from this drought.

Although, persistent trade winds in November and December helped bring abundant amounts of rainfall for the eastern areas on most of the Hawaiian Islands, the leeward sides received very little rain. This led to the end of the year rainfall totals (depicted on page 9) of the Big Island and Maui near-normal rainfall totals, 90% and 83% respectively. Kauai and Oahu had well above-normal annual rainfall totals with 153% and 172% for the year of 2011 (see Figure 1).

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, 4th Quarter 2011

Station  
Oct
Nov
Dec
4th Qtr
Annual
Lihue Airport
Rainfall (inches)
2.40
4.96
1.68
9.04
41.11
% of Normal*
73%
141%
53%
90%
1535
Honolulu Airport
Rainfall (inches)
0.24
0.89
1.10
2.23
15.67
% of Normal*
19%
65%
83%
57%
172%
Kahului Airport
Rainfall (inches)
0.10
0.07
**
0.17
10.60
% of Normal*
18%
4%
**
3%
83%
Hilo Airport
Rainfall (inches)
4.10
17.47
20.26
41.82
97.66
% of Normal*
48%
154%
198%
138%
90%

* Hawaii normals are computed from 1981-2010 data.
** Missing data


Climate Outlook:
The long-lead outlook issued on January 19 by the NOAA Climate Prediction Center indicates that probabilities favor above-normal precipitation during early 2012 as part of the mature phase of La Niñ a. Note that even if the long range projection for the next two to three months verifies correctly, full drought recovery (especially for the Big Island and Maui County) may not occur due to the intensity of the ongoing dry conditions. The next long-lead outlook will be issued by the CPC on February 16.



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: March 22 2012 05:05:08 GMT

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