Rainy season officially begins on Okinawa
May 17, 2006
NAHA, Okinawa — Wet enough for you?
Okinawa’s rainy season officially began Sunday, six days later than average and 12 days later than last year, according to the Okinawa Meteorological Observatory.
Rainy season is expected to last for about six weeks and should end around June 23, said Tsunesada Higa, an observatory weather forecaster. May and June’s precipitation is expected to be an average of 17.5 inches, he said.
But while it may rain a bit most days, Higa doesn’t expect the record rainfall the island experienced last year, when 40.8 inches of rain fell. It was the most rain recorded for the traditional two-month period since the observatory began collecting data in 1890.
However, predictions are just that — predictions. Last year, the observatory predicted the rainy season would bring just an average 17 inches of rain, but June’s drenching 33.8 inches of rain pushed the season into the record books.
Temperatures are expected to remain about average — 74.8 degrees Fahrenheit for May and 79.9 F in June, Higa said. The rainy season was officially noted as a rain-front and low-pressure trough moved over the area. The remainder of the week’s outlook is cloudy with scattered showers.
Meanwhile, the island’s 10 reservoirs continue to recover from a dry spell earlier this year that threatened to force the prefecture to declare water-rationing measures. As of Monday, the water level at the reservoirs averaged 67.3 percent.
“We will keep a close eye on how much rain the rainy season will bring this year,” said Tetsuo Minei of the Okinawa General Bureau’s development and construction department, the office that manages the island’s seven nationally owned reservoirs.
Okinawa’s rainy season may traditionally end about June 23, but that doesn’t mean you can hang up your raincoats. The end of June is when the typhoon season kicks in. The island, located in what is known as “Typhoon Alley,” is threatened by an average of five to seven typhoons each year.