Small Hawaii Town of Hanalei May Have Broken U.S. Rainfall Record With 49 Inches in 24 Hours

With over four feet of rain, the small town of Hanalei on the Hawaiian island of Kauai may have broken the all-time U.S. record for rainfall in 24 hours earlier this month.

A rain gauge about a mile west of Hanalei recorded a whopping 49.69 inches of rain during a 24-hour period from April 15-16, the National Weather Service in Honolulu said.

“This total, if certified, will break the current U.S. 24-hour record of 43 inches at Alvin, Texas, on July 25-26, 1979, and the state of Hawaii record of 38 inches at Kilauea, (Kauai) on Jan. 24-25, 1956,” the weather service said.

The U.S. record in Texas was set during Tropical Storm Claudette.

In order to become a national or state record, it must be certified by the National Climatic Extremes Committee, which is part of NOAA’s National Center for Environmental Information (NCEI).

That could take some time: “We would be very deliberate. I don’t think we will have definitive findings until several weeks and perhaps a small number of months,” said Deke Arndt, chief of the climate monitoring branch at NCEI.

The gauge is operated by the Waipa Foundation, a non-profit organization on Kauai, not the weather service, so there’s a chance the record might not pass muster. “Data from the gauge are not telemetered for real-time display and are used for watershed modeling and monitoring studies,” the weather service said.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Doyle Rice

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