The torrential rain that devastated parts of Kauai earlier this month could soon break the record for the most rainfall in American history, the National Weather Service said on Wednesday. The NWS says preliminary data indicates the Hawaiian island of Kauai broke a national 24-hour rainfall record during recent flash flooding.
The agency’s Honolulu office said Wednesday a rain gauge in Waipa recorded 49.69 inches of rain during the 24-hour period ending 12:45 pm, on April 15. If this total is certified, it would smash the current record of 43 inches recorded July 25-26, 1979 in Alvin, TX. The previous Hawaii record of 38 inches at Kilauea, Kauai was in January 1956.
“The possibility of this record-breaking data is jaw-dropping,” said Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. “It puts into perspective everything we’ve been working on, and I cannot say thank you enough to our entire island for working diligently to recover from the worst disaster we’ve experienced in decades.”
The Waipa gauge is about one mile west of Hanalei on the island’s north shore and is operated by a non-profit organization. The agency says the National Climate Extremes Committee will convene to review the data and determine whether it’s a record.
The floods swept away homes, triggered mudslides, and damaged roads cutting off several communities from the rest of Kauai.