when is hawaii’s hurricane season?
Photo: NASA, Public Domain

Hawaii’s hurricane season is from June to November of every year, but just how much of a threat to Hawaii are hurricanes? How frequent are hurricanes in Hawaii?

One might think that hurricanes are severe threats to the Hawaiian islands, as many islands found in the middle of the Pacific are at high risk of being hit by hurricanes. Yet unlike many other islands, Hawaii actually sees hurricanes fairly rarely. There are a variety of reasons that Hawaii doesn’t experience many hurricanes, including the island’s location and a nearby high-pressure area. Let’s explore Hawaii’s relationship with hurricanes in greater detail.

Where Is Hawaii?

The islands of Hawaii are situated at approximately 19.8968° N, 155.5828° W, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean between the Philippines and North America. Because of Hawaii’s centralized location in the Pacific, it functions as a stopover for many planes and ships. It also functions as a major hub of transit for people and goods headings to regions on either side of the Pacific. Note Hawaii’s GPS coordinates, as they are important for understanding its positioning relative to areas with frequent tropical storms and hurricanes.

Some Facts About Hurricanes And Their Formation

Hurricanes are only capable of forming over the warmer ocean waters that are near the Earth’s equator. This is because the moist, warm air of the waters near the equator is rising upwards and away from the surface, leaving a low air pressure area below the rising air. The air in surrounding regions of higher air pressure then rushes into the low-pressure area to fill it in, but then that new column of air also become warm and moist and rises as well. The moist air continues to rise and cool off and at higher altitudes, forming clouds. This cycle of warm moist air and descending cool air combines with the wind to create a spinning system of clouds, moisture, and air. The storms that form south of the equator spinning clockwise, while the storms which end up forming north of the equator spin counterclockwise.

As the wind speeds continue to accelerate in the system, they reach speeds which can destroy structures when they hit a body of land. Hurricane-force winds can easily occupy an area with a radius approaching 200 miles, and can last up to two weeks long. The average duration of a hurricane is about six days, however. Hurricanes are capable of heavily damaging coastal areas, causing mass flooding by raising the sea levels up to 30 feet in the areas they make landfall, pushing large amounts of earth and sand around, and throwing heavy or sharp objects through the air.

when is hawaii’s hurricane season?

Warm waters often lead to the generation of hurricanes. Photo: NASA, Public Domain

Most hurricanes, about two-thirds of them, occur in the northern hemisphere, in one of two different latitude ranges. One of the common latitude ranges for hurricanes is between 4 and 22 degrees south latitude, while the other latitude range is between 4 and 35 degrees north latitude.

Thankfully, despite the damage that hurricanes can cause to life, property, and the environment, Hawaii actually experiences substantially fewer hurricanes than many other island regions or coastal areas. United States scientists have monitored hurricanes since around 1950, and during the six decades to follow, only approximately four hurricanes have hit the islands with enough force to do substantial damage. Most of these hurricanes did indeed occur between June to November. Hurricanes are more likely to appear in the late summer because the surface of the ocean is warmer at this time of year, which creates low-pressure areas.

The Most Damaging Hawaii Hurricanes

There are between four to six tropical cyclones that form in the middle of the Pacific every year, yet despite this, only four hurricanes have done substantial damage to the islands of Hawaii. These hurricanes were Iniki, Iwa, Dot, and Nina.

Hurricane Nina formed south of Hawaii in November of 1957 and did approximately 100,000 dollars of damage to the island. Hurricane Dot hit just south of Hawaii in August of 1959 and did a few million dollars in damage. Hurricane Iwa did approximately 250 million dollars of damage to Hawaii in November of 1982. Hurricane Iniki hit the island in September of 1992 and causes approximately 3.1 billion dollars in damage.

For a point of comparison, the mainland United States experiences about seven hurricanes every four years. Florida alone has experienced four different major hurricanes since 2010.

Why Is Hawaii Relatively Safe From Hurricanes?

One of the reasons that Hawaii doesn’t experience many hurricanes is just that it is a rather small target. The Pacific Ocean is vast and Hawaii is fairly small in comparison, meaning that its relatively unlikely any individual hurricane will hit the island group. Yet there is another reason that Hawaii doesn’t experience many hurricanes.

when is hawaii’s hurricane season?

Hurricane paths across the world. Photo: NASA.gov, Public Domain

As it happens, Hawaii is fortunate enough to have a high-pressure region located just to its northeast. This area of high pressure helps ensure that water temperatures are fairly stable over of the year, meaning that relatively few hurricanes form in the region. The high-pressure area essentially helps shield the islands from large, powerful storms. This high-pressure area keeps the water near Hawaii cool, and since hurricanes need warm water to form they are less likely to occur near the islands. The westerly currents near the islands also create wind shears that aren’t very conducive to the formation of hurricanes. These combined effects mean that storms generally don’t get to close to the islands and if they do they generally become substantially weaker.

The most common path that hurricanes moving through the central Pacific Ocean take is to the south of Hawaii. The ocean is warmer in this southern region, close to the equator. Three of the four devastating hurricanes to hit Hawaii in the last 60 years all formed in the south of Hawaii. Hurricane Iniki occurred when an aberration in the south westerlies let the storm track to the north.

However, environmental scientists worry that climate change could be causing this high-pressure system to destabilize, and as a consequence, Hawaii could see more devastating hurricanes in the future.

TECH NEWS RELATED

National scientific-technological development and innovation strategy approved

Science, technology and innovation will play important roles in developing key industries in Vietnam. – Illustrative image (Photo: VNA)  Hanoi (VNA) – Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has signed a decision to issue a strategy for scientific-technological development and innovation until 2030.Accordingly, science, technology and innovation will play important ...

View more: National scientific-technological development and innovation strategy approved

NASA JPL Says Voyager 1 Spacecraft Seem to Be Mysteriously Confused With Data

NASA experts are investigating a mystery with Voyager 1 spacecraft’s telemetry data. In a statement, the space agency said that the Voyager 1 probe, which is presently 14.5 billion miles beyond Earth, is receiving and executing orders from a NASA team on Earth and transmitting back science data. However, data from ...

View more: NASA JPL Says Voyager 1 Spacecraft Seem to Be Mysteriously Confused With Data

China will soon launch a huge space telescope with a 2.5 billion-pixel camera

China’s first large space telescope could launch as soon as 2023. The new telescope will be called the Chinese Space Station Telescope. It will be roughly comparable to NASA’s long-standing Hubble Space Telescope, though its field of view will be somewhat larger. China’s first large space telescope could launch ...

View more: China will soon launch a huge space telescope with a 2.5 billion-pixel camera

Physicists Control Reactions With Laser Light at the Nanoscale

A nanoparticle in the field of a femtosecond laser pulse with tailored waveform and polarization. The controlled enhancement of the field in specific nanoscopic regions of the nanoparticle (yellow spots) induces site-selective photochemical reactions of the molecules adsorbed on the surface. Imaging of the molecular fragments emitted from these ...

View more: Physicists Control Reactions With Laser Light at the Nanoscale

Solar Orbiter Captures New Before Seen Footage of the Sun

The new videos that were captured by the ESA and NASA’s Solar Orbiter show the Sun in a brand-new light. The said videos were captured during the probe’s first close perihelion passages. This is the first time that the space probe will zoom in on the Sun’s details. New ...

View more: Solar Orbiter Captures New Before Seen Footage of the Sun

What Is Monkeypox? A Microbiologist Explains What’s Known About This Disease

The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) during a period of intensified effort to eliminate smallpox. Credit: CDC On May 18, 2022, Massachusetts health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed a single case ...

View more: What Is Monkeypox? A Microbiologist Explains What’s Known About This Disease

Novel Preclinical Drug Could Have Potential to Combat Depression, Brain Injury, and Cognitive Disorders

Summary: A preclinical drug that inhibits the kinase enzyme Cdk5 may have the potential to treat depression, brain injuries, and disorders associated with cognitive impairment. Source: University of Alabama Birmingham James Bibb, Ph.D., and colleagues have described a novel preclinical drug that could have the potential to combat depression, brain ...

View more: Novel Preclinical Drug Could Have Potential to Combat Depression, Brain Injury, and Cognitive Disorders

Ruminating on Our Ruminations Causes More Depression

Summary: Negative metacognitions and rumination can exacerbate symptoms of depression, researchers say. Source: NTNU Once you have depressive symptoms, it’s easy to fall into a pattern where you aggravate the disorder by ruminative thinking. One of the key issues is what is called negative metacognitions, a phrase that needs an ...

View more: Ruminating on Our Ruminations Causes More Depression

Sixth child in US dies of unexplained hepatitis as global cases top 600

Serious spacesuit problem forces NASA to pause ISS spacewalks

Analysis of prehistoric feces shows Stonehenge people had parasites

Climate Crisis Is Driving Cousins of Zazu, From the Lion King, to Local Extinction

Brain Mechanism Tied to Age-Related Memory Loss Discovered

In Defense of Bread – The “Staff of Life” Throughout History

Unique quantum material could enable ultra-powerful, compact computers

Unraveling a perplexing explosive process that occurs throughout the universe

Geothermal drilling successes offer potential gain for petroleum industry

Where do "Hawaiian box jellies" come from?

All-optical phase recovery and quantitative phase imaging performed instantly without a computer

Researchers demonstrate organic crystals can serve as energy converters for emerging technologies

OTHER TECH NEWS

Top Car News Car News