KAHULUI - The state of Hawaii and Maui County finished another dry year Thursday.
At the Kahului Airport gauge, only 13.4 inches of rain were recorded by the National Weather Service in 2009. The normal amount is 18.8 inches.
The drought has now lasted for three years, although it has lessened in the past year.
At Honolulu International Airport, where the normal precipitation is 18.3 inches, 2009 saw only 14.76 inches. It was 14.69 inches in 2008 and 11.96 inches in 2007.
Both airports are in dry parts of the islands, but the drought has been widespread.
According to U.S. Department of Agriculture Drought Monitor maps, the area around Kawaihae on the Big Island - even in normal times some of the driest land in Hawaii - is in an exceptional drought.
Maui County is rated as severe or extreme, except for East Maui.
Statewide, however, the proportion of land in severe drought declined from 52.8 percent in 2008 to 28.8 percent in 2009. The land in extreme drought dropped to 5.1 percent of the total from 11.3 percent.
No precipitation was recorded at Kahului on New Year's Eve.