The Maui News - As Hawai'i's traditionally rainy season gets under way this month, Maui County and much of the state is still plagued by extreme drought that has lingered for several years. And the dry conditions aren't expected to let up anytime soon.
The state overall can expect drier-than-normal conditions through early next year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in its rainfall outlook released last week.
The agency noted that while Kaua'i and O'ahu may start to recover during the wet season that runs from October through April, Maui County and Hawai'i Island aren't expected to make full recoveries.
"For Maui, it's probably not going to pull out of the drought seen on the leeward parts of the island because it's been so long-lasting and severe that a few rain events won't help," said Kevin Kodama, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Honolulu.
Maui recorded below-average rainfall totals so far this year through September. Most of the island's gauges had totals of less than 50 percent of average for the year.
In May, the start of Hawai'i's dry season, the U.S. Department of Agriculture declared Maui County a "primary natural disaster area" because of agricultural losses caused by the ongoing drought.
For more information on drought assistance programs, go online to www.fsa.usda.gov.