Hawaii and the Central Pacific basin should expect two to four hurricanes, tropical depressions or tropical storms this year. The annual National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration outlook predicts there is a 60% chance of a below-average season. The Central Pacific region sees about four or five tropical cyclones on average annually.
Experts said, below-average sea temperatures associated with La Nina east of Hawaii where storms form factored into this year’s prediction. La Nina is a natural cooling of parts of the equatorial Pacific that alters weather patterns around the globe. The opposite El Nino pattern creates above average ocean temperatures and has been present during some of the most active Pacific hurricane seasons. The La Nina pattern has been present for several years.
Experts said that even with a slow hurricane season predicted, it only takes one storm to cause a disaster. The director of NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center, Chris Brenchley said that people need to be prepared, regardless of the optimistic outlook.
Iniki was the last major hurricane to hit the state when it made landfall on the island of Kauai in 1992. In 2018, the massive and powerful Hurricane Lane made a last-minute turn and narrowly spared Oahu which is Hawaii’s most populous island. Hurricane season in Hawaii lasts from June 1 until the end of November. August and September are historically active months. There was only one named storm that entered the Central Pacific in 2021 and it did not make landfall or come close to Hawaii.
Officials also gave an update on Hawaii’s wet and dry seasons. Kodama said the winter wet season was the 12th driest in the last 30 years and that without a major storm that dumped most of the season’s rain in just a couple weeks.