HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - After wet weather in February, very dry weather in March into the early April has resulted in the return of drought conditions to the islands, with severe drought for part of leeward Kauai.
According to the National Weather Service, a pocket of moderate drought along the leeward slopes of Kauai has worsened, with an area from Waimea to Barking Sands now in severe drought. Moderate drought on the Garden Isle also spread eastward to include Hanapepe and Poipu.
Area of moderate drought also developed in leeward areas of all the remaining islands.
On Oahu, meteorologists said vegetation has been steadly drying in the past month, especially along the leeward slopes of the Waianae Range.
In Maui County, leeward sections of the islands have seen deteriorating conditions in pastures and vegetation.
On the Big Island, ranchers in the lower elevations of the South Kohala District reported that pasture conditions were becoming drier, and that improvements made after February's rainfall have disappeared.
The outlook for any relief isn’t very good. The NOAA Climate Prediction Center said probabilities are pointing to below-normal rainfall through the spring because of an ongoing weak El Nino, with warmer than normal ocean temperatures in the eastern North Pacific. Drier conditions are expected for leeward areas, but windward areas should get closer to normal amounts of rainfall.
In the longer term, temperatures will also be above normal during the summer because sea surface temperatures are also expected to be warmer than normal.