4-7 Hurricanes Forecasted: Hawaii Officials Remind Public to Prepare for Storm Season

As El Niño conditions continue to develop in the equatorial waters of the Pacific, Hawaiian residents are advised to prepare for a more active hurricane season than in recent years, as well as the possibility of prolonged drought.

Those were the conclusions Thursday of a briefing on the combined dry season/tropical cyclone season conducted by the National Weather Service in Honolulu.

The Central Pacific hurricane season begins on June 1 and ends on November 30.

The warmer Pacific Ocean associated with El Nino has forecasters expecting a “nearly above normal” hurricane season for the waters around Hawaii, said Chris Brenchley, director of the Central Pacific Hurricane Center. That equates to four to seven tropical cyclones in the Central Pacific basin, but that’s not necessarily a landfall prediction.

Noting that only one named storm, Hurricane Darby, crossed the Central Pacific last year and dissipated south of the Big Island without causing damage, Brenchley expressed concern that a lack of tropical cyclone activity “may have lulled us to sleep.” to let your guard down.”

“As we see an uptick in activity this season, it is more important than ever to make your emergency plan and emergency kit. And that he knows where to get the official information as the information comes out,” Brenchley said.

This week, Typhoon Mawar left most of Guam without power or running water after battering the island of 170,000 residents with 150mph winds, which Brenchley used as a reminder that “it only takes one” direct hit from a cyclone. tropical to wreak widespread havoc.

Governor Josh Green, who also participated in the briefing, also highlighted Guam, a US territory in the western Pacific with several US military installations.

“When you see cars flip over, when you see pieces of concrete flying out of buildings, you know there is a potential for lives to be lost. You know it’s a very serious thing,” she said.

Green said he spoke by phone Wednesday with Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero.

“She was standing in several inches of water at her governor’s residence,” Green said. “So, it affects all of us. It’s very serious.

Perhaps miraculously, no major deaths or injuries were reported on Guam due to Mawar.

Hawaii officials advise residents to have a 14-day supply of non-perishable food for family and pets, clean water, medication, as well as battery-powered flashlights and radios as part of their emergency kits. Details can be found online at https://tinyurl.com/2xwh9m65.

“Please take these recommendations seriously,” Green said. “Please have 14 days of water, have food available. Know where you will go if there is a storm and you are asked to go and take shelter in a safe place. Know where your medication is, that you have enough medication in case we end up being cut off from our pharmacies. Know that you can communicate with your loved ones, but not as fully as you always do.”

The dry season began May 1 and ends September 30 for most of Hawaii, and according to Kevin Kodama, Senior Service Hydrologist at NWS Honolulu, El Niño is also forecast to bring a drier-than-normal dry season with the possibility of severe events. extreme drought.

“The Weather Prediction Center is actually forecasting below-average rainfall for the dry season,” Kodama said. “Keep in mind that this is a bit different, because normally at the start of El Niño, we expect our dry season to have above-average rainfall. But this year is different.

“It is not something unprecedented. It’s happened before, most recently in 2009, where we ended up with the ninth driest dry season in 30 years, even though that was the start of an El Niño summer.”

Kodama said the drought is likely “to develop sometime during the summer and get progressively worse.”

“By the end of the dry season, we are absolutely confident that we will again have severe and possibly extreme drought, especially in the leeward areas of the Big Island and Maui County,” he said. “With El Niño, that probably means that the drought will extend into the next wet season and into the next dry season. So if 2009 and 2010 are analogous, that was one of the worst droughts we’ve had in the last 30 to 50 years.”

“It’s probably going to be worse for the non-irrigated farming community. So your ranch cattle, the forage from your ranch land, will be hit the hardest and also the fastest. And also the water systems that depend on diverting water from the stream… and the residents that depend on the water catchment systems, many of which are in the Puna district of the Big Island, will be affected. affected”.

Kodama said the extended rainy season across most of Hawaii could mean the start of wildfire season could be delayed a bit, “but that’s going to go uphill quickly through the summer season as the drought sets in.”

Email John Burnett at [email protected].