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Rain expected to ease by New Year’s Eve

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Revelers on Hawaii Island likely will have drier conditions under which to set off their fireworks and ring in the New Year on Thursday evening.

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Revelers on Hawaii Island likely will have drier conditions under which to set off their fireworks and ring in the New Year on Thursday evening.

However, another front is anticipated to reach the Big Island by late Friday, bringing cooler temperatures and more wet weather, according to forecasters with the National Weather Service in Honolulu.

“The last few days, we’ve mainly been seeing trade-wind showers, but that is now sort of departing,” NWS meteorologist Matt Foster said Monday afternoon. “We’ll be returning to more stable conditions. I don’t think the rain will be going away. There’s still some upstream moisture coming in. But it should be relatively lighter in terms of rainfall amounts.”

Parts of East Hawaii saw some heavy showers during the 72-hour period that began at 8 a.m. Christmas morning and ended Monday, according to weather service data.

A rain gauge at Hilo International Airport measured 2.53 inches of rainfall during the three-day period, while Mountain View saw as much as 3.74 inches. Honokaa recorded just more than an inch, while Laupahoehoe residents received 1.42 inches. Kawainui Stream, north of Waimea, accumulated 2.84 inches of rain.

Meanwhile, the west side of the island saw a typically drier weekend, with Kealakekua, Waikoloa and Kohala Ranch all registering no rainfall. Honaunau saw but a smattering, collecting just 0.02 inches, and Pahala registered 0.33 inches.

While forecasts call for drier weather this week, by the weekend a stronger front is likely to arrive, Foster said.

“There’s a front making its way across the state that is going to dissipate by the time it gets to the Big Island. That’ll be by Wednesday,” he said. “Then, later in the week, we’ll have a little bit of a stronger front that will make it down to the Big Island. It should reach by Saturday … bringing more showers. It’s not a big rain producer, but it might bring a little uptick of showers.”

Drier conditions in general are expected to set in at the beginning of the new year as a result of a strong El Niño, which has been driving weather patterns. An outlook provided in October by the National Weather Service at the beginning of the wet season predicted a uncharacteristically dry season, with many areas on the Big Island seeing drought conditions.

Foster said that still appears to be in the cards.

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“We’re kind of in that transition period now. It’s still relatively wet, but we are anticipating things to dry out because of El Niño conditions. We’re starting to get into that wintertime pattern,” he said.

Email Colin Stewart at cstewart@hawaiitribune-herald.com.