Rainy weather in Hawaii enters sixth week

Friday, March 31, 2006 Heavy rains have hit the main Hawaiian Islands for nearly six weeks, contributing to flooding in many places in the islands: a deadly dam break in northern Kauai, a sewage spill in Honolulu's Waikiki district, and record rainfall totals in many areas of the state.

A series of upper-level storm systems have formed northwest of the island of Kauai, drawing tropical moisture from the south over Hawaii and forming areas of heavy rain and thunderstorms.

The island of Kauai, on which an earthen dam broke on March 7 killing seven people, has been hardest hit. Mount Waialeale, in the center of the island, has received 90 inches of rain during the month of March and 126.69 inches since the weather pattern began on February 19. 34.31 inches of rain had fallen at Lihue airport, the most rain in a single month since records started in 1950.

Tourism officials are concerned about the long-term effect that the heavy rains may have on tourism, and they expect to launch a marketing campaign once the weather improves.

The entire state remains under a flash flood watch until at least Saturday. Weather forecasters expect a return to normal weather patterns early next week.