Recent storms and rain help keep state out of drought

Recent storms and rain help keep state out of drought

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In Hawaii County the grass is greener on the other side of the fence namely because of all the rain.

"We're not suffering from drought conditions. It's a good time to plant. It's the way it should be," said Loren Heck, New Fields Flower Farm in Ocean View.

Heck says his water tanks are full.  They've got triple the amount of water this year and he's soaking it up.

"The military showers are over. Now we can laze around in the hot shower and soap up," said Heck.

Ranchers and their cattle love it too as there is green grass almost as far as the eye can see.

"This is a boom year for beef prices. We're all doing really well. A lot of rain, a lot of calves coming on because cows have the nutrition they need and calf prices are up so it's a good year," said Sara Moore, with Kealia Ranch in South Kona. "This year has been back to that 25 years ago wet."

Farmers expect to make a profit which means no government subsidies.

"Ranchers need to be able to sell their cattle. It's a lot more money than the subsidies I can give them. It's always better to be able to sell, to be able to harvest than to depend on subsidies," said Lester Ueda, USDA, Farm Service Agency. "Water is abundant. Feed is abundant. Everybody is happy and I'm happy too."

There has been severe drought in parts of the Big Island for the last six years straight.  Now the drought has been drowned out. Statewide only one small section of Molokai is in an "abnormally low" stage and that's only because the reservoir isn't quite full.

"So far this dry season is shaping out to be one of the wettest dry seasons in recent years, possibly 10 or more years," said Kevin Kodama, National Weather Service Hydrologist. "Throughout every month is this dry season we've broken records in various places, monthly records for the wettest May, wettest June, wettest July."

Kodama toured the Big Island last week.  He says the recent storms, including Iselle helped bring needed rain.

"Iselle has gotten a lot of needed moisture to the areas on the Big Island.  I had a report from Ocean View they had 14 hours of steady rain, not damaging rain but steady rain," said Ueda.

"Enjoy it while it lasts," said Kodama.

It's all cyclical.  Ranchers would like to buy more cattle but they say they are always planning for drought. Next year is an El Nino year meaning it could be dryer.

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