8.8.14 Iselle Brings Foot of Rain to Hawaii

Published 08/08 2014 06:41PM

Updated 08/08 2014 06:47PM

Iselle struck the Big Island of Hawaii as a Tropical Storm on Friday, bringing gusty winds and drenching rains. As we've discussed for the past few days, tropical activity there is quite rare.

It's also key to remember that the Big Island has mountains that reach some 14,000 feet. Tall mountains like that really help to enhance rainfall as storms like Iselle hit. Wind blowing up the mountain condenses, enhancing rainfall on the windward facing side of the terrain. Meanwhile, air sinks and drys on the back side of the mountain resulting in much less rain. Our mountains work the same way (think of how much more snow they get in the winter).

With that in mind, it makes sense that the highest rainfall totals were found on the windward side of Hawaii. Rain being squeezed out by the mountains totaled 12-14" in some spots! Meanwhile, on the other side of the peaks, hardly any rain fell. It's an incredible difference over such a small area, and it's all thanks to terrain!

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