Outlook: drought-free

KAILUA-KONA — Hawaii has been drought-free since Feb. 27, the longest the state has gone without a drought since February of 2016.

According to a National Weather Service report, gauges across the Big Island posted a wide range of conditions, but monthly totals were in the near-average range.

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Still, North Kona, South Kona and South Kohala’s year-to-date totals remained in the below-average range for rainfall due to significant dryness in January.

Kevin Kodama, senior hydrologist at the National Weather Service weather forecast office in Honolulu, said conditions on Hawaii Island should continue improving.

“Through the summer, (Hawaii Island) will be in pretty good shape,” Kodama said. “It will be the wet season then, so there is a chance it won’t enter into another drought.”

In March, the Kona International Airport gauge registered 1.12 inches, 63 percent of the 1.78 inch average.

Kodama said while it’s difficult to predict the amount of rainfall at different districts on the Big Island due to the many microclimates, the March rainfall totals in Kona indicate an encouraging sign that the rain will continue.

Mauna Loa had 4.81 inches in March, up 204 percent from its average of 2.36.

Saddle Road Quarry gauge had the highest year-to-date total on the Big Island with 99.08 inches, 271 percent of its average.

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On the other side of the island, rainfall was in the near to above-average range at most gauges in the North Hilo, South Hilo, Puna and Ka’u districts for the month of March.

For the month of March, the Waiaha gauge received 4.62 inches of rainfall, 119 percent of its monthly average of 3.87. Kohala Ranch saw 1.63 inches, or 158 percent of its monthly average of 1.03. The Kahuka Ranch gauge received 5.46 inches, 179 percent of its 3.05 average.