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Drought Information Statement  Issued: 05/12/2022 08:29:41 AM HST


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Drought Information Statement
National Weather Service Honolulu HI
829 AM HST Thu May 12 2022

...STATE OF HAWAII ENTERS THE DRY SEASON WITH SIGNIFICANT DROUGHT...

.SYNOPSIS:

May marks the beginning of a new dry season. Unfortunately, the
main Hawaiian Islands already has significant drought in three out
of four counties. On the Big Island, drought along the lower
leeward slopes of the Kohala Mountains worsened. The area is now
at the exceptional drought level, or the D4 category on the U.S.
Drought Monitor map. It had been in extreme drought, or the D3
category, for several weeks. The South Kohala District and the
leeward portions of the Hamakua District remained in the D3
category. For the rest of the Big Island, the Pohakuloa region and
the lower slopes of the Kau District remained in severe drought,
or the D2 category.

In Maui County, the lower leeward slopes of Haleakala between
Maalaea and Wailea on the island of Maui remained in extreme
drought. Severe drought continued over most of Maui`s central
valley and the Upcountry region. On Molokai, severe drought
worsened to extreme drought over the west half of the island. The
island of Lanai had severe drought over most areas.

For the west half of the state, the island of Oahu continued to
have severe drought on the slopes of the Waianae Range. Moderate
drought, or the D1 category, remained over lower leeward slopes of
the Koolau Range. On Kauai, moderate drought continued along the
lower leeward slopes of the island from Hanapepe to Waimea.

.SUMMARY OF IMPACTS:

Kauai County
Trade wind rainfall has restored 28-day streamflow to near normal
levels at most locations on the island. Non-irrigated pastures
along the lower leeward slopes remain degraded due to below
average rainfall over the past month.

Oahu
Ground observations and satellite-based data indicated that
vegetation conditions remain poor along portions of the Waianae
Range. Short term streamflow levels have improved in drainages
along the Koolau Range, but 28-day flow levels remain below normal
at several locations.

Maui County
Feral deer continue to cause problems for producers due to
excessive foraging. One producer in the Kula area reported losses
of about $30,000 in the past year due to deer. Building sufficient
fences to mitigate damage from the deer have also added
significant costs to operations. Ground observations from Lanai
indicated poor vegetation conditions, especially along the lower
slopes. This is consistent with satellite-based vegetation health
data. Satellite data also indicated very poor conditions over the
west half of Molokai. Rain gages in Kaunakakai and at the Molokai
Airport had record low April rainfall totals.

Hawaii County
Ranchers operating in the Kau District from South Point to the
lower slopes below Pahala town indicated very poor pasture
conditions. Most of the rainfall in the area has been limited to
the higher elevations. An observer from the Hawi area of the North
Kohala District reported extremely poor vegetation conditions
along the Akoni Pule Highway from Mahukona to Kawaihae. The
vegetation health gradient is very strong in the area, with green
grasses near Hawi transitioning to brown and gray vegetation just
2 miles to the south. Another observer reported poor vegetation
health from Waimea to Puuanahulu, with the worst conditions near
Waikoloa Village.

.DROUGHT MITIGATION ACTIONS:

U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated Honolulu County,
Hawaii County, and Maui County as primary natural disaster areas
due to drought. The designation allows funding to be used for
emergency loans and compensation for grazing losses.

In a news release issued on March 10, the Honolulu Board of Water
Supply (BWS) said, "Rising levels of chloride in BWS Beretania
Wells resulting from additional pumping to make up the loss of
supply from Halawa Shaft, which was shut down last year in
response to fuel contamination of the Navy`s Red Hill source --
coupled with less than normal rainfall -- has led the BWS to ask
island residents and businesses to voluntarily reduce their water
use by 10 percent now to prepare for the summer season."

On April 8, the Maui County Department of Water Supply lifted its
voluntary water conservation request for west Maui. Stream and
ditch flows have increased to sufficient levels due to increased
rainfall in the upper slopes of the West Maui Mountains.

.LOCAL DROUGHT OUTLOOK:

The Long-Lead Hawaiian Islands Outlook issued on April 21, 2022 by
the NOAA Climate Prediction Center showed probabilities favoring
above normal temperatures through spring 2022. Probabilities were
tilted toward below normal rainfall during the summer months and
into early fall. The next long-lead outlook will be issued by the
Climate Prediction Center on May 19.

Based on the rainfall outlook, and because most of the state has
entered the dry season, the current drought conditions are
expected to intensify and increase in coverage through the summer
months, especially in the leeward areas of the state. The sole
exception to this is the Kona slopes region of the Big Island,
which is the only leeward area in the state with a summer wet
season.

.NEXT ISSUANCE DATE:

The next Drought Information Statement will be issued on June 9,
2022 or sooner if necessary in response to significant changes in
conditions.

.RELATED WEB SITES:

Additional information on current drought conditions may be found
at the following web addresses:

U.S. Drought Monitor: droughtmonitor.unl.edu/
Hawaii Drought Monitor: dlnr.hawaii.gov/drought
USGS Hawaii - Recent Conditions:
hi.water.usgs.gov/recent/index.html
Climate Prediction Center long-lead Hawaii outlook:
www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/90day/fxhw40.html
Hawaii Drought Impact Reporter: hawaii.droughtreporter.unl.edu/

.ACKNOWLEDGMENTS:

Information for this product was compiled from a number of
sources including the county boards and departments of water
supply, U.S. and State of Hawaii agriculture agencies, the U.S.
Geological Survey, and the media.

.CONTACT INFORMATION:

If you have questions or comments about this drought information
statement, please contact:

Kevin Kodama
National Weather Service
2525 Correa Rd. Suite 250
Honolulu HI 96822
Phone: 808-973-5276
Email: Kevin.kodama@noaa.gov

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