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Hilo (pronounced he-low) is a coastal city in the State of Hawaii, and is the largest community on the island of Hawaii and the southernmost city in the United States. The population was 40,759 at the 2000 census.

Hilo is the county seat of Hawaii County, Hawaii, and is situated in the South Hilo District. The city overlooks Hilo Bay, and is near two shield volcanoes, Mauna Loa, considered active , and Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano upon which some of the best ground-based astronomical observatories are placed.

The city is home to the University of Hawaii at Hilo, as well as the Merrie Monarch Festival, a week-long celebration of ancient and modern hula, which takes place each year in the week following Easter.

Hilo's location on the eastern side of the island of Hawaii (windward relative to the trade winds) makes it the wettest city in the United States and one of the wettest cities in the world. An average of 129.19 inches of rain falls on Hilo annually. Its location on the shore of the funnel-shaped Hilo Bay also makes it vulnerable to tsunamis.

Hilo has a large tourism sector, as is prevalant across the whole island. Hilo, as the second largest city in the state of Hawaii, is home to shopping centers, movie theaters, hotels, restaurants, and downtown area full of various shops.


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