Thursday, July 17, 2014

Sun Halo in Hawaii

Overcast Kohala Coast
We have been having usual weather on the southern Kohala coast of Hawaii Island.  The normal desert climate has been overcast with high humidity.  Usually the rain clouds are blocked by the massive Mauna Kea Volcano and the trade winds keep the humidity low and the evening temperatures cool. Remnants of tropical storm Fausto, that made it to Hawaii from Baja California, are being blamed for the hot, humid, rainy weather in Hawaii early this week. 

This past Sunday we were surprised to see a rainbow halo around the sun.  A circular rainbow, or halo, is an optical phenomenon that forms around the sun when the sunlight is refracted in ice crystals in the upper atmosphere.

Sun Halo on Kohala Coast
The light cast off by the rainbow halo made the landscape seem surreal and dreamlike.  Since we consider rainbows a sign of good things to come, we consider this giant circular rainbow an especially good sign.

Sun halos have historically predicted rainy weather and the island has been getting a lot, particularly on the east side. On Monday (July 14), while we were dazzled by the sun halo, Hilo had a record rainfall of 4.34 inches which broke their old record set in 1991 of 1.89 inches that day.

A new low pressure system southeast of the island is moving towards Hilo and bringing more showers.  We will be on the lookout for more rainbows.

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