Forecasters predict increased rain, flash flooding during Hawaii’s wet season

Local News

The National Weather Service in Honolulu has released its rainfall outlook for the 2016-2017 wet season in Hawaii.

The wet season runs from October through April.

Forecasters anticipate near- to above-average rainfall totals through the end of April, which means potentially higher-than-normal flash flooding incidents. View the outlook here.

“That’s important to remember too, because with recent events — for instance on Maui, where they had severe flash flooding in Wailuku and in July in downtown Honolulu with Tropical Storm Darby, we had significant flash flooding. Here, events can happen quickly and we’re hitting the prime time or the main season for these types of events,” said NWS hydrologist Kevin Kodama.

Forecasters say our latest dry season, which lasted from May through September, was the second wettest dry season in the last 30 years with monthly rainfall records broken at several locations in July, August, and September. Part of that was due to above-average tropical cyclone activity near Hawaii and above-average sea surface temperatures.

All that rain meant Hawaii remained mostly drought-free, except for small sections of leeward Maui near Kihei and leeward Kauai near Hanapepe. Forecasters expect the wet season to ease those conditions, completely eliminating drought in Hawaii by next April.

“In terms of agricultural operations, that’s welcome news, and it’s definitely better than the news that they were getting last year. Last year if you recall, we were in a very strong El Nino, and the expectation was that we would have a dry winter, which we got,” Kodama said. “It’s a very different story for this wet season.”

The National Weather Service is also reminding the public to stay safe during severe weather events. Don’t attempt to cross flooded roadways or streams, and residents in flood-prone areas should have an evacuation plan in place.

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