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National Weather Service: Expect 'Wetter Than Average' Winter

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According to the National Weather Service's outlook on the state's wet season, you can expect a "wetter than normal" winter this year.

Researchers are expecting a dominant ENSO-neutral weather pattern starting this month and lasting through April. This means more rain than in an ordinary season.

"In the last 30 years, eight out of the top 10 rainiest wet season have all been ENSO-neutral," said National Weather Service State Hydrologist Kevin Kodama.

An ENSO-neutral state is a weather pattern that is in between El Niño and La Niña and is dictated by sea surface temperatures near the equator. 

"The weather pattern adjustments that take place [around the equator] also have an effect [on] our weather patterns during the winter months," said Kodama. "It looks like the pattern that develops under that type of ENSO condition, we end up seeing a lot more rainy weather systems come by into our area of the Pacific."

The National Weather Service also released its summary of the dry season, which was the seventh wettest in the last 30 years. This is due to an unusual storm in June that eliminated droughts in parts of Kauai, Oahu and West Maui.

The slopes around Kailua-Kona also received quite a bit of rain during the summer months, helping the area avoid dry conditions during the season. According to Kodama, it is the only leeward area in the state to have a summertime wet season.

But from July to September, dry conditions worsened the existing droughts in parts of Maui and Hawaii County, affecting ranching operations and contributing to an increase in brush fires.

Kodama expects the drought conditions in the state to end by April.

Casey Harlow was an HPR reporter and occasionally filled in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
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