Weekend brought heavy rainfall to Hilo

Two days of record-setting rain fell on Hilo last weekend as a potentially wet winter approaches.

According to the National Weather Service, Saturday and Sunday had the most rain ever recorded on those dates: 1.4 and 1.15 inches, respectively.

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Other sites across the windward side of the island were similarly inundated.

A rain gauge in Hakalau recorded more than 10 inches of rain Monday, while Glenwood recorded nearly 6, and Honokaa nearly f4. The rain gauge on Saddle Quarry, historically the wettest place on the island, recorded 11 inches of rain on Monday alone.

Derek Wroe, forecaster with the National Weather Service in Honolulu, said the heavy rainfall the last several weeks is likely indicative of an impending La Nina — the colder and wetter counterpart to El Nino.

Los Ninos are cyclical climate patterns that broadly alternate warm and dry weather with cold and wet weather in Hawaii. Although the trade winds typically die down toward the beginning of fall, Wroe said they have remained steady over the last few weeks, which could signify the coming of La Nina.

Another potential indicator of La Nina could be the state’s uneventful hurricane season, which left the Big Island mostly untouched, Wroe said.

The persistent trades, along with an upper-level atmospheric disturbance over the weekend, contributed to the record-setting rain, Wroe said, but added that it is still too early to make long-term predictions about winter weather.

“As long as the trade winds stay consistent, there’s going to be more rain,” Wroe said, although he noted that La Nina patterns more often tend to start dry and become more rainy over time in Hawaii.

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In any case, more rain is predicted for the remainder of the week. The NWS forecasts an 80% chance of rain each day in Hilo until Friday, when the chance of rain drops to a mere 60%.

Email Michael Brestovansky at mbrestovansky@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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