Wet, Wet, Wet

[Title with apologies to a band I never got into, but I know my college roommate liked them.]

Autumn has been gaining hold lately, with colder winds, rainy spells, and generally unsettled weather. I don’t understand weather well enough, but unsettled weather on Kauai means there are also periods when there are almost no clouds. When the sky is clear, the nights can be almost chilly in the 60’s (16-20 C), and that usually leads to rain when the sun warms the moist air. But it does give glimpses of Waialeale in the early morning before the clouds form.

But last Saturday was particularly rainy here on Kauai when a Kona storm moved through in the early morning. In the fall and winter, the tradewinds die down, and weather can come from the south and south-west, or from the district called Kona on most islands.

The morning started out clear, and looking east to where the tradewinds usually bring us our weather showed nothing alarming. Then it started getting dark again, and I saw a few grey clouds. When it really got so dark I had to turn the lights back on, I looked out south-west over the head of the Sleeping Giant and saw the black clouds rolling in. The rains came with a bit of thunder and lasted off and on all day and into the night. At dusk I saw some lightning, a relatively rare sight here in the tropics because of the humidity.

In the end, I measured 2 inches of rain by the next morning in the Wailua Houselots where I live, a generally drier slice of land close to the coast (average annual rainfall is around 50 inches or 125 cm). That’s the first rainfall significantly over one inch (2.5cm) in almost exactly a year, and the most in 24 hours since the infamous rains of March 2006.


  • For tourists, the beginning of November is often rainy on Kauai.
  • For hikers, it’s wet and muddy on the trails right now, all over the island. The inland areas already got wet in October, so now they will be soggy. When the sun does come out, it doesn’t make the trail dry, it makes the air muggy.

Checking out some other blogs around the state, one of them reported this storm in real-time, and another mention the power outages in downtown Honolulu (glad to know it’s not just our rural island that suffers from these—schadenfreude). But best of all, the Honolulu Advertiser published this photo of snow on the Big Island (see also these older photos from the Mauna Kea Weather Center).

Image source: Honolulu Advertiser

By the way, I’m still looking for anecdotal or photographic evidence of snow on Kauai.

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