Drought conditions persist for much of state, weather service says
The National Weather Service said Thursday that while persistent trades during March helped erase drought conditions for most windward areas of the state, leeward sides of the major islands received only limited amounts of rain and remain parched.
Oahu is the only major island without any areas under a drought classification, the weather service's drought information statement said.
On other islands, the weather service listed:
• Exceptional drought conditions (classified as D4 on the U.S. drought monitor map) in South Kohala and extreme (D3) conditions for most of Kau, North Kona and South Kona on the Big Island.
• Extreme conditions for the lower elevations of leeward Maui and the western third of Molokai, and severe (D2) conditions for Lanai.
• Moderate conditions (D1) for windward areas of Kauai.
The weather service said that many pastures and general vegetation throughout the state remain in degraded states.
The weather service also noted that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center says probabilities favor below-normal rainfall in Hawaii through this spring.
"With the normal Hawaiian dry season rapidly approaching ... the prospects for meaningful drought relief are fading for leeward areas in the state and could worsen during the warmer and drier summer months," the weather service says in its summary.
"The main exception would be the upper Kona slopes. This is the only leeward area in the state which sees a summertime maximum in rainfall, and normal summer rainfall in these areas should provide some drought recovery."
The weather service's next drought information statement is scheduled to be released May 6.
On the Net:
National Weather Service Honolulu Forecast Office: www.prh.noaa.gov/hnl/