Thanks to wet winter, Hawaii drought-free for first time in 2 years

Thanks to wet winter, Hawaii drought-free for first time in 2 years

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Rain that soaked sections of the state over the past few months has driven away drought.

The latest update from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows for the first time since 2015 the entire state is free of drought.

National Weather Service hydrologist KevIn Kodama said February rainfall made the difference.

"That really helped eliminate the last bits of drought that were remaining state wide," he said.

While the rest of the islands came out of drought, dry conditions stubbornly hung on over the Big Island's leeward areas.

Farmers and cattle ranchers really needed rain. Some had resorted to thinning their herds because the ground was too dry to graze cattle.

"With it being the biggest variable for our industry, we're always encouraged when the rains comes. Right now in the Kohala area  you're seeing a lot of available grass. Ranchers are constantly managing that forage availability for their animals," said Dale Sandlin of the Hawaii Cattlemen's Council.

"Since we've had wet conditions for the ag sector, they're heading into the dry season in good shape," Kodama said.

A weak La Nina weather pattern led to the wetter wet season, the period that runs from October through April.

Kodama thinks it will keep drought at bay.

"It's not really likely that we're going to see drought conditions come roaring back," Kodama said.

The state's dry season begins in May.

The wet winter, though, has brought problems of its own.

Several strong storms have spurred flooding in parts of the state.

This winter, Oahu has seen several drenching downpours that have closed roads, trapped people in cars, and sent water pouring into homes.

This story will be updated.

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