Flossie a shot in arm for areas that needed rain

Rains from Tropical Depression Flossie brought relief to some drought-stricken areas in Hawaii, especially those most soaked during the storm, according to a report from the National Weather Service’s monthly drought outlook report.

Dry areas getting significant rainfall included Maui and Molokai and the northern region of the Big Island, the report said. On Maui, drought conditions were mitigated in parts of South and West Maui, and one area between South and West Maui might be removed from drought-watch status, the report said.

On Molokai, the central and west regions of the island received enough rain to relieve drought conditions. However, on Lanai, the southwestern portion of the island will continue to see drought persisting in the area, the report added.

Maui generally had 1 to 3 inches of rain from Flossie, with some spots getting up to 5 inches.

Last month, the National Weather Service said extreme drought prevailed over the lower southwest slope of Haleakala in Kihei and Ulupalakua.

Severe drought also remained in place over the lower leeward slopes of the West Maui Mountains from Lahaina to Maalaea.

But overall, even with rains from Flossie, Maui has seen below-average rainfall from May through July, according to the Pacific Islands Water Science Center.

During those months, rainfall was about 58 percent of average on Maui.

As of July, rainfall at Puu Kukui, the summit of the West Maui Mountains, one of the wettest parts on Maui, was below average eight of the last 10 months.

Senior hydrologist Kevin Kodama said that Flossie’s rains provided a “dry season boost” in many of the leeward areas of Maui County.

While the actual rainfall totals were not very high, he said that the percent of average values were extremely high in some cases because of the low July rainfall averages.

One of the most notable examples occurred in Kepuni in southeast Maui, where a 1,267 percent average increase was seen in July. Last month, 4.18 inches of rain were observed in Kepuni, compared to the July average of 0.33 inches.

At one of the Kula gauges, 3.96 inches of rain were recorded last month, 450 percent higher than the July average of 0.88 inches.

Kodama noted that “interestingly” the highest monthly total for the Puu Kukui gauge was 9.41 inches. But that total was only 28 percent of the average and marked the lowest July total at that location since 1987.

Other significant totals Kodama noted were in Waikapu, where 1.31 inches of rain fell in July, making it the wettest July there in 20 years.

Kaunakakai Mauka on Molokai saw 0.74 inches of rain in July, which was the highest July total since 2003.

Gauges across Maui County recorded rainfall totals in the near- to below-average range for 2013 through the end of July.

Puu Kukui’s year-to-date total of 148.24 inches (66 percent of average) was the highest in the county and remained second highest in the state, Kodama wrote.