With El Nino, Wet Season Is Dry
While Maui saw above average rainfall in 2018, the rainfall for early 2019 isn’t looking as bright. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), dry conditions will persist into spring which is atypical considering winters on Maui are normally wet. However, water shortages are not expected to be an immediate problem.
Experts with NWS are saying El Nino, is the likely culprit for Maui’s expected drier rainy season. El Nino seasons occur when a warming of the waters of the Pacific Ocean generate wetter than average summers and drier than average winters.
Winter on Maui means swells are up! Photo courtesy of Dom Marino
El Nino began to rear its head in December where Maui County saw a below average rainfall. However, the windward side of the island, in places like Haiku and Nahiku saw above average levels of rainfall. On some days in December, the rain gauge at West Wailuaiki Stream measured 7 inches of rain fall on December 19th.
On the other hand, leeward areas in regions like Lahaina, saw 80% less than normal rain averages. While this may be alarming, experts at NWS are saying El Nino is not expected to be as severe as in other years.
Although a drier wet season is anticipated, there still may be the occasional rain storm that dumps inches of rain across the island. However, it is in terms of aggregate numbers that rainfall will be down across the entire season.
You can’t go wrong with a Maui Rainbow! Photo courtesy of Dom Marino
On Maui, the drier wet season coupled with the usual dry season has created a long period of drought. Extended droughts have led to voluntary water restrictions Upcountry, which is supplied mostly by surface water and is directly impacted by rainfall.
Although at this time, there is no threat of drought that is imminent, later in the year they will need to reassess water availability. The weather is unpredictable and the county Department of Water Supply’s is doing their best to continuously monitor the situation.
State and county organizations are urging the public to stay vigilant and aware of any developing situations. Some experts have said there could be an increase in brush fires due to larger than normal patches of dry vegetation.
While this situation is developing, the drier seasons more time at the beach to soak up the sun!
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