WAILUKU - Maui got a little bit of rain Thursday as an ongoing drought extends well into what should be the island's wet winter season.
"We're dry, so dry," said Glenn James, senior weather analyst with the Pacific Disaster Center in Kihei. "We can use every drop we get. Any rain that came today we were happy to receive it."
The rain was enough for Maui County parks officials to close the Waiehu Golf Course for the day Thursday.
But the rain, carried into Maui County as two cold fronts merged and stalled over the Valley Isle on Wednesday, was expected to be short-lived, James said.
More dry weather is forecast for this weekend, he said.
For a 24-hour period ending at 5 p.m. Thursday, the most rain in Maui County was reported in West Maui at Kahakuloa with 0.69 inch, followed by Mahinahina with 0.27 inch. A rain gauge on Molokai recorded 0.2 inch. Other rain gauges had scant or no rainfall, or information on the amount of rain was not available.
The Department of Water Supply's Upcountry reservoirs held 114.5 million gallons Wednesday, down from the previous 10-day high of 136.1 million gallons Dec. 28.
The 30-million gallon Waiakamoi reservoirs were dry, the department reported on its Web site Thursday, while the 100- million gallon Kahakapao reservoir had 77.4 million gallons and the 50-million gallon Piiholo reservoir had 37.1 million gallons. The Wailoa Ditch, which reaches well into the East Maui watershed, was running at 34.3 million gallons Wednesday, only 17.2 percent of its maximum flow of 199.7 million gallons.
James said a cloud band parked itself over Maui County on Thursday, giving residents a cloudy, overcast day while people in the rest of the state enjoyed clear skies and sunshine.
"We had pretty good showers in the morning, but later in the day that backed off," he said.
Winds that had been blowing out of the south for five to six days reversed direction and came out of the northeast, clearing away volcanic haze from the Big Island, James said. But this weekend winds are expected to return from the south or southeast, bringing back voggy skies.
Surf remained at big, warning levels Thursday, and the National Weather Service said the high-surf warning should remain in effect until 6 a.m. today.
James said the reversal of winds made waves on Maui's north shore choppy and not as favorable for surfers. He predicted surf would diminish today and Saturday before a new "very large northwest swell" arrives Sunday and remains possibly into Tuesday.
* Brian Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.