By Jeff King
Hot enough for ya?
Record hot temperatures, smolderingly high humidity and light, variable, almost-non-existent winds have been causing clouds to build up over leeward and mauka areas of the islands in the afternoons into the early evenings. Thursday this week, Upcountry Maui toward Kanaio and Ulupalakua enjoyed an all-day downpour resulting in .69 inches at Ulupalakua. Even as far downslope as Makena, Wailea and Maui Medows received substantial rainfall that day.
The National Weather Service posted – then canceled – a flood advisory for Lanai Saturday night after radar showed heavy rain over the southeastern part of the island near Manele Harbor at about 8 p.m. The advisory was cancelled when showers passed by 9:45 p.m.
But those records? Icky and sticky conditions combined with a record high temperature at Kahului Airport Saturday of 95 degrees, breaking the old mark of “just” 92 on September 20, 1953. The heat index, which combines measured temperature and humidity, made the “feels like” temperature more than 100 degrees. Did someone say “Death Valley Isle?” Hilo tied their old record high for the date – originally set in 1981 – at “only” 90 degrees. In fact, Hilo has set or tied record high temperatures for most of the past week.
If there’s a silver lining to all of this, it is that the vog plume (consisting of volcanic ash, matter, sulfur and other delightful earthly emissions) is being gently escored away from the island chain. Click the image to see Google Earth’s amazing Wind Profiler – with graphics indicating the wind directions. The customizable earth map is viewable anytime on Maui Weather Guru Glenn James Maui Weather Today page.
Forecasters say some relief may come Monday and Tuesday as light tradewinds return to the state. But the high humidity and hot weather is likely to continue. Meanwhile, our very busy 2014 hurricane season has been extremely quiet since the week of August 8, when three tropical cyclones came dangerously close to the islands. Tropical Storm Iselle brushed the southeast side of the Big Island, resulting in significant damage. Enough for President Obama to declare the island a disaster area. And now that same Pahoa district is in the crosshairs of Madam Pele as lava continues her unstoppable march toward the quaint old town.