Drought eases slightly on Hawaii Island, but more dry conditions ahead

Conditions have improved slightly, but much of the state is still dry with below-normal rainfall ahead.
Published: Jun. 9, 2022 at 6:46 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Some increased rainfall over Hawaii Island’s leeward areas last month helped to ease the drought conditions there, but wdiespread drought is continuing for most of the state.

The National Weather Service said Thursday in its latest monthly drought information statement that leeward Kohala, which was under exceptional drought in May, improved slightly to extreme drought.

An area of extreme drought between Kawaihae and Waimea improved to severe drought, while severe drought in the Pohakuloa area improved to moderate drought.

However, forecasters said extreme drought conditions didn’t improve much for Maui County, where residents and visitors have been urged to conserve water. Southwest flanks of Haleakala along with most of west Molokai remain under extreme drought.

On Oahu, there was still an area of severe drought in the Waianae and Makua Valley areas. Only windward areas were not under any category of drought.

Kauai is currently drought-free, but the Weather Service said lower leeward slopes from Lihue Airport to Waimea are starting to dry out, increasing the threat of wildfires.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has already designated Oahu, Maui County and Hawaii Island as primary natural disaster areas due to drought. On Oahu, the Honolulu Board of Water Supply has maintained its request to reduce water consumption by 10%, due to a combination of the closure of the Halawa shaft due to “fuel contamination from the Navy’s Red Hill fuel tanks, coupled with less than normal rainfall.”

Longer term, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting below-normal rainfall under the summer months into early fall.

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