The region where Hawaii’s world-famous Kona coffee is grown normally has a rainy season in the summer, but this month received more rain than typical.
The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Monday that one coffee belt gauge, Kealakekua, had its highest May rainfall total on record, 12.86 inches (32.6 centimetres), which was 240 percent of its average May rainfall total and over 3 inches (7.62 centimetres) more than the previous May record of 9.76 inches (17.6 centimetres).
Kevin Kodama, a senior service hydrologist with the National Weather Service, said last week, “It didn’t just scrape by on the record; it was a substantial margin, so it’s very remarkable.” “It wasn’t just one site, though. All of the gauges in that region had taken up a significant quantity of information. When you look at the percentages of averages, they were all around, above, or slightly below 200 percent.”
On May 3, Kealakekua received the greatest one-day rainfall total on the Big Island, with 2.28 inches (5.79 cm).
“The month of May is just getting begun. Actually, the climax of the summer rainy season for leeward slopes doesn’t happen until later,” Kodama added. “It’s a little early to be cranked up like this,” says the narrator. Overall, there’s been some unrest, but they’ve been getting rain almost every day — and in significant amounts.”
Meanwhile, according to the National Weather Service, most of the Big Island’s rain gauges recorded near-to-below-average rainfall for much of May.
While the majority of East Hawaii has stayed green, other portions of the island are experiencing drought. “With the exception of the Kona slopes of the Big Island, leeward portions of the state may suffer rising drought conditions over the summer,” Kodama stated in his most recent drought statement.