Record-breaking rainfall relieving Hawaii severe drought

Record-breaking rainfall relieving Hawaii severe drought

Torrential rain has soaked parts of the state for weeks now. Some spots once in a severe drought are finally seeing some relief.

Places like Diamond Head on Oahu are now green and lush, thanks to another record rainfall of nearly 1.5 inches of rain that fell between Friday night and Saturday morning.

The wet weather may dampen some people's spirits, but it's a welcoming relief for farmers.

Especially for Bobby Ferreira, who manages a ranch on the southeast side of Maui, a part of the state hardest hit by the drought.

"I've been in Kaupo for five years as manager and I've never experienced this much rain," Ferreira said.

"It feels wonderful to lie in bed at night and listen to the rain fall on the roof knowing the pastures are getting water," said Ferreira.

Places in Kaupo that were once barren and brown are now green and thriving. Ferreira says even the old timers have never seen anything like it.

But it's not just the Valley Isle, other parts of the state are seeing it too.

For the month of August, Lihue on Kauai saw a record-breaking 9.86 inches of rain. The record before that was 8.13 inches back in 1959. On Maui, 2.34 inches of rain was recorded at the airport. The record before that was 1.54 inches in 1973. But Honolulu saw the biggest increase in the month of August. The record more than doubled from 3.74 in 2004 to 7.83 in August 2015.

But forecasters at the National Weather Service say that's no indication for what the rest of the year may look like.

"El Nino is gonna be one of the strongest that we've ever seen, and typically El Nino patterns are very dry patterns here across the islands. So even though there has been some improvement here recently because this tropical cyclone activity which has moved around the islands, there is potential the drought conditions could return here this winter," said Senior Forecaster Jon Jelsema.

While the record-breaking rainfall has eliminated most the drought conditions across the state, the southern slopes of Kauai and Maui still remain in a moderate drought.

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