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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, July 21, 2006

As Mainland swelters, it's just another day in paradise

By Brittany Yap
Advertiser Staff Writer

Kyle Kim, 9, found bodyboarding a great way to keep cool yesterday at Ala Moana Beach Park. Honolulu's high of 86 degrees was nothing compared with the triple-digit temperatures baking parts of the Mainland.

REBECCA BREYER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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It's really cool to be living in Hawai'i this summer.

Seriously.

While the rest of the United States, save for Alaska, is baking in one of the hottest summers on record, the National Weather Service in Hawai'i said the state temperatures are status quo.

"The average summer temperature in Hawai'i is 88 degrees," said Ray Tanabe of the National Weather Service in Hawai'i. "This summer we're right on track."

Much of the Mainland is suffering through record high temperatures. In Las Vegas, temperatures hit 113 degrees on July 15, 107 in Dallas on July 18, and 106 in Norman Okla. on the same day. Bismarck, N.D. hit 106 and Denver hit 103, both on July 16.

Hawai'i's high this summer came on June 26, a balmy 91 at Kahului Airport on Maui.

"Right now it is a lot cooler in Hawai'i than Minneapolis," said Tad Ell, a Minnesota resident who visited Hawai'i on business last week and returned home to 99-degree weather. "Here, you literally can't walk outside without perspiring."

Hawai'i residents can relate: It's not the heat, it's the humidity. Yesterday, Hawai'i residents sweated it out in 68 percent humidity.

But one thing Hawai'i residents don't have to worry about is the aftermath the hot, humid weather brings. In places like Minneapolis and Colorado, Ell said, the high heat is usually followed by "nasty weather" hail, thunderstorms and tornadoes.

Kathy Tuell, a nurse living in Yuma, Colo., said the forecast in her area last night called for 1-inch hail.

"(The hail) is going to kill all my plants," she said.

Other than that, Tuell said the other problem with high temperatures is that air conditioners struggle to cool off homes.

The Associated Press reported yesterday that the heat has contributed to at least 20 deaths nationwide in the past week. It also has contributed to several power outages because of the high volume of air conditioners being used.

All of which makes "Lucky to Live Hawai'i" seem even more true. Tanabe said the reason record temperatures have been set around the Mainland, but not here, is water.

"Being surrounded by water moderates the temperature," he said. "We're a small land mass in the middle of the ocean. (The Mainland) is a big continent, which allows for it to heat up."

Sharon Tachibana of Liliha said trade winds are Hawai'i's natural air conditioning.

"When we have the trades it's good," she said. "When we don't ...

"(My ceiling fan) just blows all the hot air around."

Reach Brittany Yap at byap@honoluluadvertiser.com.