Kauaʻi or Kauai[a] (//; Hawaiʻian: [kɐˈwɐʔi]) (Commonly is mispronounced as Cow-EYE, but is actually pronounced Kuh-WUH-ee) is geologically the oldest of the main Hawaiian Islands. With an area of 562.3 square miles (1,456.4 km2), it is the fourth largest of these islands and the 21st largest island in the United States. Known also as the “Garden Isle”, Kauaʻi lies 105 miles (169 km) across the Kauaʻi Channel, northwest of Oʻahu. This island is the site of Waimea Canyon State Park. The United States Census Bureau defines Kauaʻi as census tracts 401 through 409 of Kauaʻi County, Hawaiʻi, which comprises all of the county except for the islands of Kaʻula, Lehua and Niʻihau. The 2010 United States Census population of the island was 67,091. The most populous town was Kapaʻa.
Kauaʻi’s origins are volcanic, the island having been formed by the passage of the Pacific Plate over the Hawaii hotspot. At approximately six million years old, it is the oldest of the main islands. The highest peak on this mountainous island is Kawaikini at 5,243 feet (1,598 m).
The second highest peak is Mount Waiʻaleʻale (the wettest place on Earth other than the ocean) near the center of the island, 5,148 feet (1,569 m) above sea level. One of the wettest spots on earth, with an annual average rainfall of 460 inches or 1170 cm, is located on the east side of Mount Waiʻaleʻale. The high annual rainfall has eroded deep valleys in the central mountains, carving out canyons with many scenic waterfalls. On the west side of the island, Waimea town is located at the mouth of the Waimea River, whose flow formed Waimea Canyon, one of the world’s most scenic canyons, which is part of Waimea Canyon State Park. At 3,000 feet (914 m) deep, Waimea Canyon is often referred to as “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific”. Kokeo Point lies on the south side of the island. The Na Pali Coast is a center for recreation in a wild setting, including kayaking past the beaches, or hiking on the trail along the coastal cliffs. The headland, Kuahonu Point, is on the south-east of the island.
Kauaʻi’s climate is generally mild and humid, although localized weather phenomena and infrequent storms have caused instances of extreme weather. At the lower elevations the annual precipitation varies from an average of about 50 inches on the windward (northeastern) shore, to less than 20 inches on the (southwestern) leeward side of the island. Average temperature ranges from 71 °F (22 °C) in February and March to 79 °F (26 °C) in August and September. Kauaʻi’s mountainous regions offer cooler temperatures and provide a pleasant contrast to warmer coastal areas. At the Kōkeʻe state park (3200–4200 ft. ASL), day temperatures vary from an average of 45 °F (7 °C) in January to 68 °F (20 °C) in July. In the winter temperatures have been known to drop down to the 30s and 40s at Kōkeʻe state park, which holds an unofficial record low of 29 °F (-2 °C) recorded in February 1986 at Kanaloahuluhulu Meadow.
Precipitation in Kauaʻi’s mountainous regions averages 50–100 inches annually. Situated about 10 miles southeast of Kōkeʻe state park at an elevation of 5,075 feet, is the Mt. Waiʻaleʻale rain gauge. Mt. Waiʻaleʻale is often cited in literature as being the wettest spot on earth, although this has been disputed. Based on data for the period from 1931 through 1960 the average yearly precipitation was 460 in (1,168 cm) (U.S. Environmental Science Services Administration, 1968). Between 1949 and 2004 the average yearly precipitation at Mt. Waiʻaleʻale was 374 in (881 cm) 
Not only does Kauaʻi hold a record in average yearly precipitation, it also holds a record in hourly precipitation. During a storm on January 24–25, 1956, a rain gauge at Kauaʻi’s former Kilauea Sugar Plantation recorded a record 12 inches (30.5 cm) of precipitation in just 60 minutes. The 12-in value for one hour is an underestimate, since the rain gauge overflowed, which may have resulted in an error by as much as an inch. An accurate measurement may have exceeded Holt, Missouri’s world record 60-minute rainfall of 12 inches in 42 minutes on June 22, 1947.
Hawaii Standard Time is observed on Kauaʻi year-round. When most states are on daylight saving time, for example, the time on Kauaʻi is three hours behind the West Coast of the United States and six hours behind the East Coast.
The city of Līhuʻe, on the island’s southeast coast, is the seat of Kauaʻi County and the second largest city on the island. Kapaʻa, on the “Coconut Coast” (site of an old coconut plantation) about 6 miles (9.7 km) north of Līhuʻe, has a population of nearly 10,000, or about 50% greater than Līhuʻe. Princeville, on the island’s north side, was once the capital of Kauaʻi.
Kauaʻi is home to thousands of wild chickens, or moa in Hawaiian, who have few natural predators, as the mongoose was never introduced in Kauaʻi as it has been on other Hawaiian islands. Kauaʻi’s chickens originated from the original Polynesian settlers, who brought them as a food source. They have since bred with European chickens that have gotten free from farms and cockfighting breeders.
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Posted on December 21, 2016 at 9:05 am by James G. Pycha