Hurricanes rarely hit Hawaii

Hurricanes rarely hit Hawaii - Hurricanes rarely hit Hawaii...

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Hurricanes rarely hit Hawaii By Jack Williams, USATODAY.com The danger of a hurricane hitting Hawaii any single year is very low, but both meteorology and history tell you not to ignore the possibility, especially if you're building or buying a home there. First the meteorology. Hawaii is in the tropics and while the oceans around the state aren't as warm as those of the Caribbean Sea or Gulf of Mexico, the state does not have a chilly water barrier, like California's, which has helped keep any hurricanes from hitting that state — as far as anyone knows. ( Related: California's tropical cyclones ). In addition, hurricanes and tropical storms approach Hawaii from both the east and the south, with storms that form in the eastern Pacific Ocean off the Mexican Coast being the most common. ( Related: Understanding Eastern Pacific hurricanes ) The normal, east-to-west winds across the tropical Pacific push storms toward Hawaii, with a storm making it all of the way from time to time and many continuing west past Hawaii. Also, a few tropical storms and hurricane form south of Hawaii and head north toward the islands. In fact, Hawaii's most devastating storm, Iniki in 1992, came from the south to pass directly over the Island of Kauai on Sept. 10-11, 1992 killing six people and doing $2.3 billion damage. Which brings us to Hawaii's hurricane history. Meteorologists have no doubt that hurricanes have been hitting Hawaii since the islands first pushed up from the bottom of the Pacific as volcanoes. Hawaiians had stories of storms from before Europeans and Americans arrived, but none seemed to be as aboujt storms as fierce as those told of in the legends of the people who lived around the Caribbean Sea before the Arrival of Europeans in the New World's tropics in the 15th century. In fact, even Weather Bureau meteorologists didn't realize until 1950 that some of the strong storms that hit Hawaii from time to time were tropical cyclones. (Hurricanes are tropical cyclones over the Atlantic Basin or the Pacific east of the International Date Line.) Robert Simpson and his staff at the Weather Bureau (It's now the National Weather Service) office in Honolulu recognized that a storm spotted east of the islands on Aug. 12, 1950 was a tropical cyclone, not an extratropical storm. ( Related: How tropical, extratropical storms differ ) They called it Hurricane Able because at the time forecasters used the World War II vintage international phonetic alphabet — Able, Baker, Charlie and so on — to name storms. This storm was later given the Hawaiian name Hiki. Simpson went on to become a towering figure in hurricane research and forecasting. He organized and ran the USA's and the world's first large hurricane research program, which continues today as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Hurricane Research Division and to head Storm that wouldn't die From time to time, a hurricane sails past Hawaii to cross the International Date Line, which makes it a typhoon. In
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This note was uploaded on 04/29/2011 for the course OCN 201 taught by Professor Decarlo,e during the Summer '08 term at University of Hawaii, Manoa.

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Hurricanes rarely hit Hawaii - Hurricanes rarely hit Hawaii...

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