HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - From October through April, the National Weather Service predicts more rain than what the state normally gets during Hawaii's "wet season," but it's forecast to fall mostly over windward areas.
"East facing slopes of the state in leeward sections may remain dry like you would during the summer time," hydrologist Kevin Kodama said.
That's bad news for ranchers and farmers on the leeward sides of Maui and the Big Island who are stuck in drought with pastures that are so dry they're unusable.
"To hear the news that the drought will continue, especially for those on the leeward side, on the west side, it's a little disheartening. It's a challenge. It's a struggle," said Brian Miyamoto of the Hawaii Farm Bureau.
Kodama said the distribution of rainfall will depend on the strength of a weather event called La Nina, that has to do with ocean temperatures near the equator.
A weaker La Nina would allow more weather systems to bring more leeward rainfall.
"If it ends up being a moderate to strong event then I think it's more likely that you have a more significant windward-wet, leeward-dry type of signal," Kodama said.
Miyamoto said the prediction underscores the need for more state funding to repair and maintain irrigation systems, especially in the state's drier regions.
"We really emphasize the need for drought mitigation efforts to capture the water in times of plenty to support our farmers and ranchers when there isn't a lot of water available," he said.
As for increased rain predicted for windward sides Kodama said that will help drought stricken windward areas recover, but it also means over the next seven months there could be some downpours and flooding.
"Windward sides, above average rainfall, you can have some serious heavy rain events," he said.
In 2006, the state had 40 days of rain. That was a La Nina year.