Mount Waialeale

Mount Waiʻaleʻale /ˌwaɪˌɑːleɪˈɑːleɪ/ is a shield volcano and the second highest point on the island of Kauaʻi in the Hawaiian Islands. Its name literally means "rippling water" or "overflowing water" [1]

The mountain, at an elevation of 5,148 feet (1,569 m), averages more than 373 inches (9,500 mm) of rain a year since 1912, with a record 683 inches (17,300 mm) in 1982; its summit is one of the rainiest spots on earth.[2] However, recent reports mention that over the period 1978–2007 the wettest spot in Hawaii is Big Bog on Maui (404 inches or 10,300 mm per year).[3]

Waiʻaleʻale (or 'Rippling Waters') Lake, the namesake of Mount Waiʻaleʻale.
Highest point
Elevation5,148 ft (1,569 m)
Prominence1,569 metres (5,148 ft)
Coordinates22°04′26″N 159°29′55″W / 22.07389°N 159.49861°WCoordinates: 22°04′26″N 159°29′55″W / 22.07389°N 159.49861°W
Waiʻaleʻale is located in Hawaii


Climate and Rainfall Statistics

Waterfalls around the caldera
Wall of Tears - Wai'ale'ale
The "Wall of Tears" in the crater of Mount Waialeale

The summit of Waiʻaleʻale features a tropical rainforest climate (Köppen Af), with substantial rainfall throughout the course of the year. (Bodin 1978: 272) quotes 460.0 inches (11,684 mm) per year figure as being the 1912–45 average, an average that quite possibly will have changed since then, while The National Climatic Data Center quotes this figure as a 30-year average.[4] The Weather Network and The Guinness Book of Weather Records (Holford 1977: 240) quotes 451.0 inches (11,455 mm) rain per year, while (Ahrens 2000: 528) quotes 460 inches (11,680 mm) as the average annual rainfall at Mount Waialeale and (Kroll 1995: 188) claims 510 inches (13,000 mm) falls here. Similarly, The Weather Network and the Guinness Book of Weather Records quote 335 days with rain here while (Simons 1996: 303) suggests that rain falls on 360 days per year.

The local tourist industry of Kauai has promoted it as the wettest spot, although the 38-year average at Mawsynram, Meghalaya, India is higher at 467.4 inches (11,870 mm). Both Mawsynram and Cherrapunji in Meghalaya are recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as having higher average rainfall. Mawsynram's rainfall is concentrated in the monsoon season, while the rain at Waiʻaleʻale is more evenly distributed through the year.


Several factors give the summit of Waiʻaleʻale more potential to create precipitation than the rest of the island chain:

  1. Its northern position relative to the main Hawaiian Islands provides more exposure to frontal systems that bring rain during the winter.
  2. It has a relatively round and regular conical shape, exposing all sides of its peak to winds and the moisture that they carry.
  3. Its peak lies just below the so-called trade wind inversion layer of 6,000 feet (1,800 m), above which trade-wind-produced clouds cannot rise.
  4. And most importantly, the steep cliffs cause the moisture-laden air to rise rapidly – over 3,000 feet (910 m) in less than 0.5 miles (0.80 km) – and drop a large portion of its rain in one spot, as opposed to spreading the rain out over a larger area if the slope were more gradual.


The great rainfall in the area produces the Alakaʻi Wilderness Preserve, a large boggy area that is home to many rare plants. The ground is so wet that although trails exist, access by foot to the Waiʻaleʻale area is extremely difficult.

A number of rare local plant species are named for this mountain, including Astelia waialealae, Melicope waialealae, and the endemic Dubautia waialealae.[7]

See also


  1. ^ (Pukui, Elbert & Mookini 1974220).
  2. ^ "MT WAIALEALE 1047, HAWAII (516565)". WRCC. NOAA. 1 August 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  3. ^ "'Big Bog' ranks among wettest spots in Hawaii, possibly world - | News, Sports, Jobs, Visitors Information - The Maui News". 2016-09-28. Retrieved 2018-08-30.
  4. ^ "Global Measured Extremes of Temperature and Precipitation". National Climatic Data Center. August 9, 2004.
  5. ^ "Mount Waialeale – Climate Summary". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved August 21, 2010.
  6. ^ "Climate Data for Mount Waialeale, Hawaii". Weatherbase. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  7. ^ USFWS. Determination of endangered status for 48 species on Kauai and designation of critical habitat; Final rule. Federal Register April 13, 2010.


  • Ahrens, C.D. (2000), Meteorology Today, Brooks/Cole, ISBN 0-534-39776-X
  • Bodin, S. (1978), Weather and Climate, Blandford, ISBN 0-7137-0858-1
  • Holford, I. (1977), The Guinness Book of Weather Records, Book Club Associates
  • Kroll, E. (1995), De Wereld van het Weer, Teleac
  • Pukui, Mary Kawena; Elbert, Samuel H.; Mookini, Esther T. (1974). Place names of Hawaii (2nd ed.). University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-0524-1.
  • Simons, P. (1996), Weird Weather, Little Brown and Company

External links

Alakai Wilderness Preserve

The Alakaʻi Wilderness Preserve, popularly known as Alakaʻi Swamp, is a montane wet forest on the Hawaiian island of Kauaʻi. Although the preserve is home to alpine bogs, it is not a true swamp. It is located on a plateau near Mount Waiʻaleʻale, one of the wettest spots on Earth.

The 3.5-mile (5.6 km) Alakaʻi Swamp trail is often shrouded in mist. This trail can be reached via the Pihea Vista trail, which is connected to the Puʻu o Kila lookout on Waimea Canyon road. This road is located behind a gate that is directly next to the Kalalau Valley lookout. Due to the rainfall experienced here, potholes are formed and the road is often closed. The end of this trail overlooks Hanalei Bay off in the distance and it is possible to see several waterfalls from the lookout. This area is often shrouded in clouds and is one of the few places on Kauaʻi where one may walk through them.

Big Bog, Maui

The Big Bog on the island of Maui is the largest high-altitude bog in the Hawaiian Islands. It is on the border between Hāna Forest Reserve and Haleakalā National Park. It is alleged to be one of the wettest places on earth, with a reported annual rainfall of 404 inches (10,300 mm) for the period 1992-2018.

Dubautia waialealae

Dubautia waialealae is a rare species of flowering plant in the aster family known by the common name Wai'ale'ale dubautia. Like other Dubautia this plant is called na`ena`e.

Geranium kauaiense

Geranium kauaiense is a rare species of geranium known by the common name Kauai geranium. It is endemic to Hawaii, where it is known only from the island of Kauai. It was federally listed as an endangered species in 2010. Like other Hawaiian geraniums, this plant is known as hinahina and nohoanu.This plant is a subshrub with stems up to a meter long. The inflorescence is a cyme of 3 or 4 flowers with purple-striped white petals.This plant grows in the wet forests and bogs of Alakai Wilderness Preserve on Kauai, where there are about 140 plants remaining. There are also three plants at the summit of Mount Waialeale, one of the rainiest spots on earth.The main threat to this species is the degradation of its habitat feral pigs, which may also feed on the plant. Fences have been erected around patches of bog habitat to protect it from the pigs. Non-native species of plants also have invaded the habitat, including Juncus planifolius and Andropogon virginicus.

Hanalei River

The Hanalei River on the island of Kauaʻi in Hawaii flows north from the eastern slopes of Mount Waiʻaleʻale for 15.7 miles (25.3 km) until it reaches the Pacific Ocean at Hanalei Bay as an estuary. With a long-term mean discharge of 216 cubic feet (6.12 cubic meters) per second, in terms of water flow it is the second-largest river in the state; although its watershed of 19.1 square miles (49 km2) is only sixth-largest on Kauaʻi, it encompasses areas of the highest recorded rainfall on the planet and plunges precipitously from its headwaters at 3,500 feet (1,100 m) above sea level.

The lower, flatter portion of the river flows by Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge and many taro farms (60% of Hawaii's taro is grown in this area). The Hanalei River provides habitat for a number of amphidromous species, including gobies (5 native varieties), two native species of crustacean, the hīhīwai (Neritina granosa, an edible snail), and in its upper reaches, a threatened species of highly adapted snail (Newcomb's snail, Erinna newcombi).

The Hanalei was designated an American Heritage River by US President Bill Clinton on July 30, 1998.

The major bridge across the river (still one lane) is on Hawaii Route 560, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places listings in Hawaii.

Hawaiian tropical rainforests

The Hawaiian tropical rainforests are a tropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion in the Hawaiian Islands. They cover an area of 6,700 km2 (2,600 sq mi) in the windward lowlands and montane regions of the islands. Coastal mesic forests are found at elevations from sea level to 300 m (980 ft). Mixed mesic forests occur at elevations of 750 to 1,250 m (2,460 to 4,100 ft), while wet forests are found from 1,250 to 1,700 m (4,100 to 5,580 ft). Moist bogs and shrublands exist on montane plateaus and depressions. For the 28 million years of existence of the Hawaiian Islands, they have been isolated from the rest of the world by vast stretches of the Pacific Ocean, and this isolation has resulted in the evolution of an incredible diversity of endemic species, including fungi, mosses, snails, birds, and other wildlife. In the lush, moist forests high in the mountains, trees are draped with vines, orchids, ferns, and mosses. This ecoregion includes one of the world's wettest places, the slopes of Mount Waiʻaleʻale, which average 373 in (9,500 mm) of rainfall per year.

Henderson Lake (British Columbia)

Henderson Lake is a lake on Vancouver Island that drains south into head of Uchucklesit Inlet on the north side of lower Alberni Inlet.Weather data from the Henderson Lake fish hatchery shows that the lake is situated in the wettest place in North America. Henderson Lake averages 6,903 mm (271.8 in) of precipitation, and in 1997 9,307 mm (366.4 in) fell, setting the all-time Canadian record.

Iraivan Temple

The San Marga Iraivan Temple is a Chola-style Hindu temple dedicated to the Lord Shiva located on the Kauai island in the state of Hawaii, USA. "Iraivan" means "He who is worshipped," and is one of the oldest words for God in the Tamil language. It is the first all-stone, white granite temple to be built in the western hemisphere whose construction began in 1990. The Iraivan Temple is located next to the Wailua River and 8 km from Mount Waialeale. It is maintained by the Saiva Siddhanta Church which is also known as Kauai Aadheenam and Kauai's Hindu Monastery. The temple is under construction. Spatika (Crystal) Lingam will be housed in it after its construction completes, till then crystal Lingam is placed in the Kadavul temple.The centerpiece of the temple will be a 700-pound, 39-inch-tall, uncut quartz crystal, believed to be the largest six-sided, single-pointed crystal ever found Sri Trichy Mahaswamigal (d. 2005) of Kailash Ashram, Bangalore, describes the temple's importance: "The Iraivan Temple is going to be to America what the temples of Chidambaram, Madurai, Rameshwaram, and other great Siva temples are to India."


Kawaikini is the highest point on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai and in Kauai County and measures 5,243 feet (1,598 m) in elevation. It is the summit of the island's inactive central shield volcano, Mount Waialeale. Other peaks on Kauai include: Waialeale (5,148 feet), Namolokama Mountain (4,421 feet), Kalalau Lookout (4,120 feet), Keanapuka Mountain (4,120 feet), Haupu (2,297 feet) and Nounou (1,241 feet).

Labordia pumila

Labordia pumila, the Kauai labordia, is a rare species of flowering plant in the Loganiaceae family. It is endemic to Hawaii, where it is found only on Kauai. It is a federally listed endangered species of the United States. Like other Labordia species, this plant is known as Kamakahala.There are only three remaining populations of this species, all on the Alakai Plateau, including one at the summit of Mount Waiʻaleʻale. Estimates of the total global population are generally around 800 or 900 but the number could be as high as 6000.This is a shrub producing cymes of up to 15 orange flowers. It grows in the typical bog habitat of the Alakai Plateau.This plant is threatened by feral ungulates, such as wild boars, and the introduction of invasive species of plants.

Lysimachia venosa

Lysimachia venosa is a rare species of flowering plant in the family Primulaceae known by the common name veined yellow loosestrife. It is endemic to Hawaii, where it is known only from the island of Kauai. The plant was only collected twice, last in 1911, but in 1991, a branch was discovered that had broken off the steep cliffs above the headwaters of the Wailua River. The branch was from a plant of this species and may have fallen from the summit of Mount Waialeale. No more specimens have been found since and the plant may be extinct, but some experts believe it may still exist in unsurveyed parts of the habitat. It was federally listed as an endangered species of the United States in 2010.This shrub grows at least 0.5 to 1.0 m in height. The oval leaves are up to 10 cm long by 4.8 cm wide. The flowers have dark red petals between 1 and 2 cm long.

Pritchardia waialealeana

Pritchardia waialealeana, the poleline pritchardia, is a species of palm tree that is endemic to the island of Kauaʻi in Hawaii, United States. It inhabits wet forests on the slopes of Mount Waiʻaleʻale at elevations of 500–700 m (1,600–2,300 ft). P. waialealeana, is a large palm, reaching a height of more than 20 m (66 ft).

Puʻu Kukui

Puʻu Kukui is a mountain peak in Hawaiʻi. It is the highest peak of Mauna Kahalawai (the West Maui Mountains). The 5,788-foot (1,764 m) summit rises above the Puʻu Kukui Watershed Management Area, an 8,661-acre (35.05 km2) private nature preserve maintained by the Maui Land & Pineapple Company. The peak was formed by a volcano whose caldera eroded into what is now Īʻao Valley.

Puʻu Kukui is one of the wettest spots on Earth and the third wettest in the state after Big Bog, Maui and Mount Waiʻaleʻale, receiving an average of 386.5 inches (9,820 mm) of rain a year. Rainwater unable to drain away flows into a bog. The soil is dense, deep, and acidic.Puʻu Kukui is home to many endemic plants, insects, and birds, including the greensword (Argyroxiphium grayanum), a distinctive bog variety of ʻōhiʻa lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha var. pseudorugosa) and many lobelioid species. Due to the mountain peak's extreme climate and peat soil, many species, such as the ʻōhiʻa, are represented as dwarfs. Access to the area is restricted to researchers and conservationists.

Royal Coconut Coast

The Royal Coconut Coast is the designation given to Kauai’s east side, defined as the area between the Wailua Golf Course, heading north along the coast to Kealia Beach, and extending inland towards the center of the island, to Mount Waialeale. The Royal Coconut Coast includes the sacred Wailua River area and the large towns of Wailua and Kapaa. The area derives its name from the acres of coconut trees located along the coast and highway. The area also hosts many places of historical and cultural significance, some of the land held as sacred and was once reserved only for the royalty of Hawaii.

The Royal Coconut Coast is a diverse and popular area due to its central location on Kauai. It is an area attractive for both residents and visitors with a solid concentration of hotels and attractions. Many of Kauai's lodging properties are located in this area, as well as many popular beaches, parks, restaurants, shopping centers, hiking and biking trails, and general services are readily available.

Tropical Storm Flossie (2013)

Tropical Storm Flossie yielded stormy weather to Hawaii in late July 2013. The sixth tropical cyclone and named storm of the annual hurricane season, Flossie originated from a tropical wave that emerged off the western coast of Africa on July 9. Tracking westward across the Atlantic with little development, it passed over Central America and into the eastern Pacific Ocean on July 18, where favorable environmental conditions promoted steady organization. By 0600 UTC on July 25, the wave acquired enough organization to be deemed a tropical depression; it intensified into a tropical storm six hours later. Continuing westward, Flossie attained peak winds of 70 mph (110 km/h) on July 27 before entering the central Pacific Ocean. There, unfavorable upper-level winds established a weakening trend; on July 30, Flossie weakened to a tropical depression, and by 1200 UTC that same day, the storm degenerated into a remnant low, northeast of Kauai.

In advance of Flossie, tropical cyclone warnings and watches were placed into effect for various Hawaiian Islands. In addition, numerous flash flood watches were issued in fear of over a foot of precipitation. Ports and numerous facilities were closed to the public, and authorities opened shelters for refuge. Upon approach, Flossie threatened to become the first tropical storm to make a direct hit on Hawaii in two decades; however, the system weakened prior to doing so. Flossie brought high surf to the state, leading to minor beach erosion. Gusty winds exceeded tropical storm threshold, downing numerous power poles and trees; as a result, several thousand locals were without power for a few days. The storm produced several inches of rainfall across the island, with a peak of 9.27 in (235 mm) on Mount Waialeale. Though one man was injured due to lightnings, no fatalities were reported in association with Flossie. Damage totaled to $24,000 (2013 USD) as a consequence of lightning.

Wailua River

The Wailuā River is a major river on the island of Kauaʻi in the U.S. state of Hawaii. At 20 miles (32 km) long, it is Kauai's largest and longest river, as well as Hawaii's 3rd longest river. It is formed by the confluence of its North and South forks just west of Wailua and enters the Pacific Ocean at 22°2′42″N 159°20′11″W. It is the only navigable river (by boats larger than kayaks) in the Hawaiian Islands. It is a center of activity for locals and visitors in the form of boat tours to Fern Grotto, kayaking and water skiing.

The North Fork begins at the Mount Waiʻaleʻale at coordinates 22°3′35″N 159°29′33″W and flows 12.2 miles (19.6 km) east to its junction with the South Fork. The South Fork forms at the junction of several streams southwest of Hanamaulu and flows 8.1 miles (13.0 km) east, over Wailua Falls, to its junction with the North Fork.

Other points of interest along the river system include a bird refuge, Kamokila Hawaiian Village, Secret Falls and a pool which formerly included a rope swing.

Waimea Canyon State Park

Waimea Canyon, also known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, is a large canyon, approximately ten miles (16 km) long and up to 3,000 feet (900 m) deep, located on the western side of Kauaʻi in the Hawaiian Islands of the United States. Waimea is Hawaiian for "reddish water", a reference to the erosion of the canyon's red soil. The canyon was formed by a deep incision of the Waimea River arising from the extreme rainfall on the island's central peak, Mount Waiʻaleʻale, among the wettest places on earth.

Wall of Tears

Wall of Tears may refer to:

Wall of Tears (Galápagos Islands), a stone wall built by forced labour in a penal colony

Wall of Tears, a feature on Mount Waialeale, a volcano in Hawaii

Climate data for Mount Waialeale
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 79.9
Average high °F (°C) 77.9
Daily mean °F (°C) 69.8
Average low °F (°C) 61.7
Average rainfall inches (mm) 24.78
Average rainy days 20 17 20 26 27 27 29 29 27 27 21 21 289
Source #1: NOAA[5]
Source #2: Weatherbase [6]


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