If it seems like the Hawaiian Islands are pins in a giant Pacific Ocean bowling alley, just standing there while one after another hurricane hurls towards us (thanks Johnny A for the metaphor!), it’s because we are. We’ve already had our share of big storms pose potential trouble to Hawaii this summer, but now we’ve got two actual named hurricanes are headed this way–Hurricanes Ignacio and Jimena. State officials aren’t exactly hitting the panic button yet, but they’re coming close.
“We understand the public is fatigued from experiencing four major approaching storms so far this season, but we urge people to take the weekend to prepare their homes and families for impacts that could be felt statewide,” said Doug Mayne, Administrator of Emergency Management, in an Aug. 28 news release from Governor David Ige’s office. “Severe weather associated with Ignacio is expected, and with Jimena not far behind, we need to ready ourselves and our loved ones as much as possible with the time we have. We will continue to work with our county, state and federal partners and leadership to monitor the storms and provide the public with timely updates as we receive them.”
Jimena is still too far away to tell with any certainty what impact it might have on Hawaii. But Ignacio’s a lot closer.
“East and southeast facing shores of Hawaii Island and Maui can expect advisory-level surf on Saturday and warning-level increases Sunday through Monday,” stated the news release. “Tropical Storm force winds could begin to impact Hawaii Island as early as Sunday evening. If Ignacio tracks across all islands, impacts include extreme hurricane force winds, storm surge and widespread flash flooding. If the system tracks to the north or south of the state, there is potential for extremely gusty winds, heavy rain and thunderstorms.”
Yeah, that’s a lot of ifs, and while it’s entirely possible neither storm will impact us too badly, it’s also important to get prepared now (Haleakala National Park just announced that they’re closing the park’s backcountry on Sunday, Aug. 30 in anticipation of Hurricane Ignacio). This is, after all, the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina destroying New Orleans.
Click here for the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, to get the latest updates on storms that might affect Hawaii.
Click here for information on preparing your own home disaster kit.
All this is scary, sure, but we also knew it would happen–climate change, a particularly active El Nino season, and so forth. In fact, we even blogged about it a year ago.
“From 1979 to 2003, both observational records and our model document that only every four years on average did a tropical cyclone come near Hawaii,” blogger/ex NOAA Hurricane Hunter Jeff Masters wrote in Aug. 2014. “Our projections for the end of this century show a two-to-three-fold increase for this region.”
Image of Hurricane Ignacio projected tract as of Aug. 28: National Weather Service