Lack of trades makes for ‘very dry conditions’

April is generally one of Maui’s wettest months of the year, but not this year due to a lack of trade winds, according to the National Weather Service and the U.S. Geological Survey.

In fact, Puu Kukui in the West Maui Mountains, one of the wettest spots on the planet, received the smallest amount of rain since rainfall recording began in 1928, according to the USGS. The National Weather Service reported that the rain gauge in the watershed collected only 3.32 inches, which was only 9 percent of the normal rain-fall of 38.51 inches for the month.

Puu Kukui reflected the “very dry conditions” across Maui County, according to the monthly precipitation study produced by Kevin R. Kodama, senior service hydrologist with the National Weather Service office in Honolulu. Rainfall was 30 percent below the monthly average with leeward areas at 10 percent of average, the report released last week said.

Gauges in Wailuku and Waikapu collected no rain. Other areas reported:

* Kahului, 0.07 inch, 5 percent of the average for the month.

* Haiku, 0.59 inch, 11 percent of average.

* Kula, 0.3 inch, 20 percent of average.

* Hana, 1.55 inches, 22 percent of average, the lowest amount on record for the month.

* Lahainaluna, 0.03 inch, 2 percent of average.

* Ulupalakua, 0.09 inch, 4 percent of average.

The dryness over the past two months has pushed most of the Maui County rainfall totals into the below average range for the year through the end of April, Kodama said in the report.

Statewide, April continued the March pattern of below average trade-wind frequency, he said. Normally, trades blow about 70 percent of the days in April, but this year the winds from the northeast to east blew only about a third of the days he said.

Two fronts that hit the western half of the state continued to remind that April still is part of the wet season.

While dumping lots of rain on Kauai and Oahu, the fronts pretty much dissipated before reaching Maui County, he said.

The lack of trade winds and the inability of the weak cold fronts to push across the entire state resulted in very dry conditions over Maui and the Big Island.

“April is usually one of the wettest months of the year for the windward slopes of both islands because there is normally an abundance of rain shower activity embedded within the trade-wind flow,” he said.

But not this year.

* Lee Imada can be reached at leeimada@mauinews.com.