Hawaii's dry January was a record-breaker - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii's dry January was a record-breaker

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

January’s very dry conditions broke records across the state, according to the National Weather Service.

On Oahu, records for the driest January were broken at Honolulu International Airport, Palisades, Waipio, Kunia, Waianae, Lualualei, Mililani and Aloha Tower.  Many of the records broken date back to 1998, the last time Hawaii experienced a strong El Niño.

In January, Honolulu Airport saw just .03 inches in January, shattering the previous record -- .18 inches -- made in 1986 and again in 2001.

Even more startling: The December-January total for the airport was .3 inches. Typical rainfall for the airport for the two months is 5.55 inches.

The NWS said all lower elevations on Oahu, from Honolulu to Waianae, saw monthly totals at less than 10 percent of average.

Meanwhile, on Maui, Lahainaluna and Kula saw their lowest January rainfall totals on record. And The Puu Kukui guage saw just 1.08 inches of rain, 3 percent of average and its lowest total since January 1977.

And all of the rain gauges on Hawaii Island were below 30 percent of average.

Kevin Kodama, NWS hydrologist, said the dry conditions fit with forecast models, which predicted a drier-than-normal winter. The very dry conditions are being blamed on a strong El Niño, a global weather phenomenon driven by warm surface water in the Eastern Pacific.

El Niño also gave Hawaii a wetter-than-average summer and record hurricane season.

Kodama says Hawaii can expect the drier-than-average conditions to stick around through April. "The dryness may not be as intense, but it will still be below average," he said.

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