‘Below-average’ hurricane season predicted for Hawaii | News, Sports, Jobs

Luna Ruth

A couple walks in a rainstorm amid heavy traffic in Paia on Sept. 11, 2018, as Tropical Storm Olivia approached Maui. Weather forecasters are predicting a “below-average” hurricane season of two to four tropical cyclones in the Central Pacific basin. Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Weather forecasters are predicting a “below-average” hurricane season in Hawaii over the next several months, though they’re also reminding residents that it only takes one to cause a “tremendous amount” of impact.

The outlook for the 2022 Central Pacific hurricane season that runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 anticipates two to four tropical cyclones, which includes tropical depressions, named storms and hurricanes. A near-normal season has four to five tropical cyclones.

“It is important to note that the outlook doesn’t necessarily pinpoint where those tropical cyclones might occur. It only takes one wandering into the vicinity of the state to cause a tremendous amount of potential impact,” said Chris Brenchley, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center.

During a news conference on Wednesday, Brenchley and others offered an overview of the coming Central Pacific hurricane season. Expected tropical cyclone activity is even lower than last season, when experts predicted two to five tropical cyclones making it into the Central Pacific.

In 2021, only tropical storm Jimena made it into the Central Pacific basin before it weakened, said John Bravender, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

“Last year was really quiet,” he said.

Brenchley explained that the ongoing La Nina conditions are creating wind shear.

“Wind shear is something that hurricanes don’t do well with,” Brenchley said. “They tend to weaken significantly and shear apart.”

La Nina is a natural cooling of parts of the equatorial Pacific that alters weather patterns around the globe.

It is opposite of the El Nino pattern that creates above-average ocean temperatures and has been present during some of the most active Pacific hurricane seasons, including in 2015 when there were 16 storms in the Central Pacific basin.

But Brenchley pointed out that even two years ago when it was a “quiet year,” Hurricane Douglas approached the state from the east and “barely missed us to the north.”

“The impacts from that could be very significant,” he added.

This year is the 30th anniversary of Hurricane Iniki making direct landfall on Kauai in 1992, and Brenchley said those that lived through it “still remember those experiences today” and its “incredible destructive power.”

Reports place Iniki’s damage on Kauai over $1 billion.

During the news conference, Luke Meyers, administrator of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, reminded residents to be prepared and take the following six steps:

• Know the hazards around where you live, such as flooding, landslides, etc.

• Sign up for emergency alerts for areas where you live, work and play.

• Refresh your emergency supply kit.

• Refresh your emergency plans and discuss with loved ones.

• Look over your insurance forms and policy and see what is covered.

• Have your home retrofitted for a hurricane.

Dennis Hwang, coastal hazard mitigation specialist with the University of Hawaii’s Sea Grant program, reminded people to prepare their homes for a hurricane, including steps such as tying the roof of the home to the wall using hurricane clips.

He said this could be done over two weekends or with a contractor, although the best time to prepare is during the hurricane offseason, as it could take time to line up the contractor.

Hwang said hard copies of the Homeowner’s Handbook to Prepare for Natural Hazards are available at public libraries or online at seagrant.soest .hawaii.edu/homeowners-handbook-to-prepare-for-natural-hazards/.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at [email protected] The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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