UPDATE – (10:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 8)
- All of Hawaiʻi is abnormally dry, and 94% is under some level of drought, according to the latest update from the U.S. Drought Monitor.
- Moderate drought increased significantly over the past month and covered most areas of the Big Island, the National Weather Service reported. “Extreme drought remained over the lower slopes of the South Kohala District, and severe drought continued over the slopes of Mauna Kea and the Humuʻula Saddle,” the forecasters said.
- The U.S. Drought Monitor said that “during the past 30-day period, the windward side of the Big Island observed precipitation shortfalls ranging from 3 to 7+ inches.”
The National Weather Service had this to say about the impacts on Hawaiʻi island:
Low August rainfall has started to degrade pastures even along the normally wetter windward slopes. Water levels in stock ponds in the Hamakua area were dropping. The large Leilani brushfire that started in the Pohakuloa region of the island was finally contained in mid-August after burning close to 20,000 acres over several days. Earlier this summer, ranchers operating along the lower slopes of the Kau District reported very poor pasture conditions. Satellite-based vegetation health data indicated degraded conditions across most of the South Kohala District and in the North Kona District to the north of Hualalai volcano. The satellite data also showed poor conditions on the slopes of Mauna Kea along the Keanakolu Road.
The came forecasters also offered this local drought outlook for the entire state:
The Long-Lead Hawaiian Islands Outlook issued on August 18, 2022 by the NOAA Climate Prediction Center did not show probabilities favoring above or below normal temperatures into the fall. Probabilities continued to favor below normal rainfall into the middle of fall. Longer range projections favor above average rainfall at the end of 2022 and into early 2023. The next long- lead outlook will be issued by the Climate Prediction Center on September 15.
Based on the rainfall outlook, and because most of the state is still within the dry season, the current drought conditions are expected to intensify and increase in coverage over the next several weeks, especially in the leeward areas of the state.