by David Corrigan
PU’UKOHOLA HEIAU, Hawaii – A normally parched area along the dry Kohala Coast got a relative deluge of rain last night.
Rangers with the Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site report that 4.58 inches of rain fell Thursday night. They say that’s more than all of 2012 and most of 2011 combined.
“Apparently a little after midnight there was a heavy rain event that hit the Kawaihae area,” said Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site park ranger Greg Cunningham. “We also had about an 1.5 inches one day last week and lighter rain as well, so this year looks pretty good for rain so far.”
It is possible that this is the most one-day rainfall the park has seen in many years, although park officials say they will have to look at the data to know in how long. It was probably the most in 20 years or so, they think.
This area of Hawaii Island has been under severe drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Its not unusual for this leeward portion of the Big Island to see little rain. 4.58 inches, however, is extraordinary.
UPDATE – So far this year the park has received 8.16 inches of rain, and over the past year – May 23, 2012 to today – the park has received 9.93 inches of rain, according to Cunningham.
That compares to last year’s 2.90 inches of rain, or 4.08 inches in 2011, or 6.19 in 2010.
Cunningham notes that in the past, there have been some years that have been even “wetter” than this year. For example, in 2004 and 2005, the park got 13.41 inches and 13.91 inches, respectively. Back in 1996, 19.07 inches fell on the park.
The only year with complete data since 1990 to have less rain than 2012 (2.90 inches) was 1998 (2.27 inches)
Cunningham tells us the park is part of the National Weather Service Cooperative Observer Program. The park records weather data every day for the National Weather Service.
Wow! Pu'ukohola Heiau National Historic Site had 4.58 inches of rain last night…more rain than all of 2012 & most of 2011 combined!
— Congaree Natl Park (@CongareeNPS) May 24, 2013