Tuesday, Aug. 09, 2022|
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The Kona coffee belt experiences its rainy season in the summer, and the rainfall there was especially bountiful in June.
According to the National Weather Service, the Waiaha gauge recorded the most rainfall of any on the Big Island, slightly less than 18 inches. That’s almost three-and-a-half times its usual June rainfall.
The other three official Kona coffee belt rain gauges also reported well-above-average totals for June. Those include Kainaliu with 10.51 inches, Honaunau with 9.42 inches and Kealakekua with 8.72 inches.
Kevin Kodama, the NWS Honolulu senior hydrologist, said in his monthly precipitation report that Honaunau’s rainfall total was its highest for any June since 1997.
“The Kona side has been wetter than the windward side, at least in June,” Kodama told the Tribune-Herald.
Even the perpetually parched Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport in Keahole saw more than thrice its normal June rainfall, with 2.55 inches.
Portions of Ka‘u also experienced more rain than usual in June. Lower Kahuku had a shade over 6 inches, almost 50% more than its June norm, and Kapapala Ranch and South Point both tallied more than twice their June averages, with 3.42 and 2.78 inches, respectively.
Not everyone shared in the plentiful precipitation. According to Kodama, ranchers reported that pastures to the east of Waimea town that improved after rainfall in early- to mid-May rainfall have started to dry out again, and pastures along and above Hawaii Belt Road between Waimea and the Waikoloa junction have been very dry.
“Other places that have been drying out include the Pohakuloa area — not all of it, more along the (Army) base — and the upper slopes of Maunakea,” Kodama said.
Windward Big Island areas had some rain last month, but most reported below-average totals.
One exception was Hilo International Airport, which received 7.42 inches, a slightly-above-normal rainfall total for June. At 6.76 inches, Honokaa also had above-average June rainfall.
On the other hand, Glenwood, in the upper Puna rainforest, reported slightly more than 6.5 inches, but that’s only 38% of its usual June rainfall.
And while rain seems to have been a near-daily occurrence in most places on the windward side of the Big Island, the only East Hawaii rain gauge that has an above-average rainfall total for the year so far is Kawainui Stream.
That gauge recorded 14.74 inches of rain in June, which lifted its rainfall total for the first six months of 2022 to 91.3 inches. That’s an inch-and-a-half less rain than tallied at Honolii Stream; however, Honolii’s year-to-date total of 92,92 inches is just 84% of its average for the first half of the year.
“The windward side, for the most part, has been getting sufficient rainfall, even though it’s a little bit below average,” Kodama said.
Email John Burnett at email@example.com.