The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center has released its rainfall outlook for Hawaii’s wet season, which started earlier this month and is expected to end in April.

The CPC expects La Nina, a climate pattern that causes cooler-than-average waters in the Pacific Ocean, to linger into next spring, making it the third consecutive La Nina year, according to Kevin Kodama, a senior service hydrologist at the Honolulu Weather Forecast Office.

“This has only happened twice since 1950,” Kodama said at a press conference Wednesday.

Although Big Island, Maui, Kauai and Oahu all experienced extreme drought conditions in the previous dry season, from May to September, the possibility of drought may persist in the upcoming months on the leeward side of Maui and on the Big Island. But Kodama said there is a likelihood of drought recovery on the westside of Kauai and Oahu.

The dry season has been particularly challenging for farmers.

“Some of the pastures are just dirt,” Kodama said. “We need multiple events to get water to percolate down and restore the soil moisture.”

Based on rankings from eight key sites, the previous dry season was the 16th driest in the last 30 years. But Kodama said sometimes numbers don’t accurately reflect conditions — a record of a large amount of rain may be too much at one time and ultimately become runoff, not providing any benefits to crops.

Kodama urged safety and awareness for Hawaii residents, and to be prepared for the possibility of severe weather in the following months.

“Whether or not we’re projecting wetter-than-average, or below-average wet season — we can have flooding even in a drought,” Kodama said. “In Hawaii … You can go from bright sunny skies to thunderstorms within a hour.”

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