If you thought January was unusually wet, you're right.
January turned out to be
an unusually wet month
Recent rains broke the relative
dry spell of the last 4 years
By Helen Altonn
"The last four years were considered drought, so this is much better than the last four years," said Kevin R. Kodama, senior service hydrologist at the National Weather Service Forecast Office.
He said most of the rain came in the last two weeks, and mainly in the last week.
It was pretty wet from October through the first couple weeks of December when a Kona storm with strong southwest winds gave Oahu a "good soaking," Kodama said. Then it was dry the second half of December through the first half of January, he noted.
"It could switch back to very dry in February again. I've seen that happen," he said.
The Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center indicates that near-normal conditions will persist for about the next three months, followed by development of a weak to moderate El Nino, Kodama said.
"So an El Nino-related drought won't happen until the end of this year and the early part of 2003," he said.
Statistics compiled by Kodama show that many island areas had near- to above-normal rainfall last month, he said.
On Kauai, Kodama said, Kokee had 11.55 inches of rain last month -- 66 percent of its normal 17.40 inches for January. Hanalei got 14.99 inches, or 133 percent of its normal 11.30 inches for the month.
"What's more striking is Hanapepe," Kodama said.
Its normal January rainfall is 5 inches, and it had 9.18 inches last month, or 184 percent of normal.
On Oahu, rain near the Wilson Tunnel totaled 22.93 inches last month compared with its January normal of 11.60 inches.
"On the Big Island, that wouldn't be a surprise, but for Oahu that's pretty good," Kodama said. "It's 198 percent of normal."
Heavy amounts also fell last month in Manoa, with 22.07 inches, or 189 percent of its normal 11.70 inches for January, and Nuuanu, with 22.81 inches, or 181 percent of its normal of 12.60 inches.
On Maui, Hana was deluged with 16.53 inches of rain last month, 194 percent of its normal 8.50 inches. Kahakuloa also had twice as much as its normal January rainfall: 13.17 inches or 212 percent of its normal 6.20 inches.
On the Big Island, the wettest area was Glenwood with 21.56 inches, 174 percent of its normal 18.50 inches. Mountain View was soaked with 20.21 inches, or 214 percent of its normal 14.10 inches.
Other Big Island highlights: Hilo had 16.14 inches last month, 269 percent of its normal 9.70 inches, and Piihonua had 25.94 inches, or 155 percent of its normal 16.70 inches.
Kapapala had 291 percent of its normal rainfall, with a total 20.07 inches compared with its normal 6.90.