A Hawaii Rainbow on Kauai
Imagine Hawaii Title banner
Weather Precipitation Hawaii Temperatures

Hurricanes in Hawaii

Hurricanes ( tropical cyclones) are called by several names . Hurricane, typhoon, tropical storm, cyclonic storm, and tropical depression are all name for tropical cyclones.

Tropical cyclones are areas of warm air and low pressure which rotate in a counterclockwise direction in the Northern Hemisphere. Hurricanes and typhoons are tropical cyclones in which the wind velocity exceeds 74 mph, or 118 km/h. Such systems are accompanied by heavy rain, tornadoes. They often produce flooding and abnormally high tides called storm surges.

Hurricanes form over areas of warm ocean. Those hurricanes that approach and occasionally pass over Hawaii are usually generated to the west of the lower Baja peninsula of Mexico. Some, like the huge Hawaii Hurricane, Iniki, begin their lives off the coast of Africa and manage to cross Central America, regaining strength in the Pacific Ocean. They all move in a generally westward direction. Because hurricanes make many turns along their path, it is difficult to predict where they will go next. Weather satellites and flights by specially equipped aircraft have made prediction considerably more reliable.

Hurricanes occasionally reach the Hawaiian Islands. The most recent powerful hurricane to reach Hawaii did serious damage to the island of Kauai. The hurricane was named "Iniki", a polynesian word meaning, "A sharp and piercing wind".


View images of Hurricane Iniki and tracks of historical hurricanes in the pacific.

Copyright Imagine Hawaii
1995, 2011