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Oct 21, 2009 12:57 PM by MSNBC

Hawaii expects drier winter due to El Nino

Forecasters at the National Weather Service on Tuesday laid out predictions for a drier winter for the state because of El Nino.

El Nino typically brings a drier winter to the islands. For farmers, it has already been a dry season. Most of Maui County and the Big Island are under drought conditions.

"So even Hilo could go with fairly low amounts of rainfall and looking at several places around the state at less than 50 percent of what we normally expect during the wet time of year," National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration senior service hydrologist Kevin Kodama said.

"We have seen in past years, during El Nino events, fairly large surf episodes and that presents a public safety issue for us," NOAA warning coordination meteorologist Raymond Tanabe said.

That could bring some unwanted visits from haze and humidity.

"Unfortunately, what also tends to happen during El Nino seasons, is we tend to lose the trades more often or the trade winds just go very light. And that's going to translate to you know, what's going to feel like more muggy conditions throughout the second half of the winter," Tanabe said.

The system would also likely bring more high surf to the north shores, forecasters said.

Another effect of the El Nino is the higher chance of late season tropical cyclones as evidence by Tropical Storm Neki, which is near Johnston Island.

 

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