Severe Drought in Hawaiʻi Ends

May 8, 2014, 4:14 PM HST · Updated May 12, 9:46 AM
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The Pu'u Mahoe cinder cone, located mauka of the Ulupalakua Ranch Store and Winery along the southern slopes of Haleakala was green with foliage during a recent visit. The site is home to the Flemming Arboretum and a variety of native and endangered plants. Photo by Wendy Osher.

The Pu’u Mahoe cinder cone is located mauka of the ʻUlupalakua Ranch Store and Winery along the southern slopes of Haleakalā. The site is home to the Flemming Arboretum and a variety of native and endangered plants. Photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

The severe drought status that had plagued parts of the state has finally been eliminated, according to a drought information statement released today by the National Weather Service.

The document, prepared by NOAA Senior Hydrologist Kevin Kodama, says the last area of severe drought  in the US Drought Monitor Map was in the Kualapuʻu area of West Molokaʻi, where conditions improved from severe drought to moderate drought conditions.

It was the only location in the state that continued to show signs of moderate drought according to data compiled by Mark Svoboda, with the National Drought Mitigation Center.

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“This downgrade ended D2 (severe drought) conditions that had been present continuously in various locations in the state of Hawaiʻi since June 2008,” according to Kodama.

The information statement notes that there are currently no drought impacts to report on Maui, Lānaʻi, Oʻahu, Kauaʻi or the Big Island of Hawaiʻi; however, it advises that “drier than average conditions mainly along the leeward slopes in recent weeks are setting the stage for a quick return of significant drought conditions.”

According the data compiled by the US Drought Monitor, abnormally dry weather was documented on the leeward areas of Maui and Lānaʻi and across the Island of Kahoʻolawe.

Despite an increase in water levels at the Kualapuʻu Reservoir to pre-drought levels, the drought statement notes that the state Department of Agriculture is maintaining a mandatory 20% cutback in irrigation water use as a precautionary measure.

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