Kona’s wet summer continues

  • Rain continues to fall in North Kona on Friday. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • Rain continues to fall in North Kona on Friday. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • Rain continues to fall in North Kona on Friday. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

Rainfall continues to be plentiful over the Kona slopes with mostly above-average rainfall totals recorded during July.

Nine of the 10 rain gauges in the North Kona and South Kona districts saw more than 115% of average rainfall during July. The Kona area experiences its rainy season during the summer months, which is the dry season for the rest of the state.


“The Honaunau gage [sic] in the South Kona District had its highest July total on record, and the nearby Kealakekua gage [sic] had its highest July total since 1992,” National Weather Service Senior Hydrologist Kevin Kodama wrote in the July precipitation summary issued Friday.

During the 31-day month, the South Kona area of Honaunau recorded 11.77 inches of rainfall, 176% of the average for the month, while Kealakekua recorded 177% of average rainfall with more than a foot of rain. Kainaliu received 9.6 inches of rain, which is 44% above average.

In North Kona, the Waiaha rain gauge recorded nearly 13.5 inches, nearly three times the average 4.8 inches seen during July. Downhill, Kaloko-Honokohau saw 169% of average rainfall at 2.83 inches while the Kaupulehu, Kona International Airport, Puuanahulu and Puu Waawaa areas recorded between 116% and 134% of the average.

Some of the rainfall filling the Kona gauges fell on July 4 and 5 amid light east-southeasterlies that brought enhanced low level moisture into the state, which helped boost afternoon showers along the leeward slopes of the island chain.

“On July 5, some of the showers were locally intense, causing minor flooding along the western slopes of Kauai and the Kona slopes of the Big Island,” Kodama wrote. “Notable rainfall totals on both islands were in the range of 1 to 3 inches.”

The only Kona area where precipitation didn’t exceed the average was Puuhonua O Honaunau in South Kona. The rain gauge there recorded just 2.35 inches of rainfall, or 73% of July’s average.

Meanwhile, the Hamakua and Kohala areas posted mostly near- to above-average totals due to the impact of Hurricane Douglas’ outer rain bands as the storm passed north of the Big Island on July 25 and 26.

Waikoloa received 395% of average rainfall with 1.7 inches of precipitation recording during the month while Waimea recorded 6.4 inches, or 126% of average. The rain gauge at Kawainui Stream, on the Kohala Mountain slopes, recorded its highest daily total this year with 2.92 inches on July 26.

Areas receiving below-average rainfall in Hamakua and Kohala were Upolu Airport, which recorded just 32% of average rainfall with less than an inch of precipitation, and Honokaa, which saw 85% of average rainfall with 6.23 inches.

While most Big Island areas received decent rainfall, the areas of Hilo and Puna saw “solidly below average” precipitation for July with monthly totals ranging from 5 to 9 inches, according to Kodama.

Hilo International Airport recorded just 49% of average rainfall with 5.27 inches and Glenwood fared worse, receiving just 43% of the average 20.19 inches that falls during the month of July. Pahoa saw about 60% of average rainfall at 6.86 inches.

Rainfall during July varied across the Ka‘u District. Some areas received below-average rainfall, including South Point with 1.94 inches or 85% of average and Kapapala Ranch with 1.67 inches or just 42% of average. In contact, the lower Kahuku area, mauka of South Point, recorded 138% of average rainfall during July at 6.59 inches.

Year-to-date, South Kona and North Kona areas have for the most part recorded above-average rainfall. However, he Kona International Airport and Puuhonua O Honaunau areas notching below-average rainfall at 81% and 58, respectively.

Areas of Puna and Hilo, meanwhile have recorded about average rainfall, though the Papaikou rain gauge has only received 89.7 inches or 77% of average rainfall.


Hamakua and Kohala areas have varied widely with some areas seeing just 63% of average rainfall (Upolu Airport in North Kohala) while others have recorded above-average precipitation, such as Kohala Ranch which has seen more than 13 inches of rainfall — or 186% of the average.

Year-to-date, Ka‘u areas have for the most part seen above average rainfall, however, a figure for South Point was not available.

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