Photo above is Hawaii County Civil Defense lava viewing area yesterday afternoon, courtesy of local resident. Click on it to view a larger size)
Heavy rains hovered over much of the entire coast from South Point to Kumukahi, the most easterly point of the Big Island, as well as from Kumukahi north up past Hilo into the Hamakua coastline. Thunder-lightning cells blasted Hilo to Pahoa as the evening progressed, ending by 11:00 PM in the Pahoa area, Hilo maybe longer.
Kahului and the Hana areas of Maui also had some serious rains and flooding last night. We need rain. The islands have been suffering from abnormal draught conditions this year. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a summery of this:
Summary of dry season:
• Statewide: Drought worsened
o “Exceptional drought” (D4 category in U.S. Drought Monitor) spread to Kau
o “Moderate drought” (D1 category) went from 50% in May to 74% September
• Leeward Big Island “severe” (D2 category) to “exceptional” drought
o Worst conditions in South Kohala and south Kau
o Some improvement in Kona coffee belt from summer rainfall
• Drought broadly affecting agriculture
o Livestock, orchards, crops, ornamentals affected
• Windward rainfall frequency near normal but daily totals below normal
• Hilo and Kapapala Ranch remain on pace for driest year on record.
o Hilo: 37.05 inches through September, normal is over 90 inches.
§ Record driest year: 1983, 68.09 inches
o Kapapala Ranch: 5.41 inches through September, normal is 42 inches.
§ Record driest year: 1998, 13.42 inches
Viewing area update
Regardless of the rains, many people still made the trek out to the end of highway 130 and on to the Kalapana access road, though the viewing area closed a bit early due to the rains.
For update information on the viewing area, phone the county lava-hotline at 961-8093, or after 2:00 PM: 430-1966 or 217-2215. Changing wind directions can affect the costal viewing. Onshore winds may close the viewing down. Right at the moment winds have switched and coming in from the southeast - as opposed to our usual northeast Trades, but this will likely swing around later today.
Visitors did see some red lava in cracks near the road and a steaming & fuming coastal flats yesterday, as well as a strong ocean entry plume beyond, as shown in the panoramic photo.
This morning mostly clear skies have returned, though the local forecast calls for possible heavy showers later today or this evening.
But so far we have a nice Hawaiian start to the day ;)
Sunrise through the ocean entry steam plume.