Downpours in April set new US record

HONOLULU (AP) — The torrential downpours that flooded the island of Kauai last year set the national record for the most rainfall in a 24-hour period, according to the National Weather Service.

The weather service’s National Climate Extremes Committee issued a memorandum Wednesday, confirming the record set by the heavy rains that hit the island’s northern and eastern sides, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported .

The rain gauge at Waipa Garden on the island’s north shore recorded 49.7 inches during the period that ended at 12:45 p.m. on April 15.

“After considering the observation and the various surrounding factors, the NCEC determined the Waipa Garden observation to be valid, and it now stands as the 24-hour record precipitation for the United States,” the committee said in the memorandum.

The rainfall amount broke the previous record of 43 inches recorded July 25-26, 1979, near Alvin, Texas.

The Kauai rains swept away homes and triggered mudslides, causing millions of dollars in damages. Several communities also were cut off from the rest of the island because of road damage.

Most of the rain occurred in three bursts, according to the committee. Nearly 20 inches fell from the afternoon to evening on April 14. About 18 more inches came down early the next morning. The rest fell in the late morning and early afternoon.

The rain gauge is about a mile from the town of Hanalei. It’s operated by a nonprofit organization.

The Kauai rainfall has been posted in the committee’s list of records.