There is trouble in paradise - did you know it's hurricane season? Usually hurricane season (June-Nov) is a non-event in Hawaii. We've lived here four years now and in four years have had one tropical depression (Flossie 2013) come through in July 2013. We had some wind, over an inch in rain and some thunder storms, but other than that, it was pretty tame, particularly compared to what you see on the news about hurricanes in the Atlantic. We carry hurricane insurance for our home insurance policy, and honestly, our neighbors mock us for it. It's expensive and has a huge deductible, but I feel better having it.
Today we are watching two storms approach the Hawaiian Islands. Iselle was a category 4 hurricane as of yesterday but has now been downgraded to a category 3 hurricane. It's still a very powerful storm. As of right now, it's still on track to hit Maui early Friday morning. Forecasters are predicting that as it crosses cooler waters before getting to Hawaii, it will fizzle into a tropical storm (we're hoping).
Closely behind follows tropical storm Julio. The jury is still out on what Julio will do, though it could hit as soon as Sunday.
Here is the official hurricane ranking system from the Central Pacific Hurricane Center:
- Tropical Storm - winds 39-73 mph (34-63 kt)
- Category 1 - winds 74-95 mph (64-82 kt)
- Category 2 - winds 96-110 mph (83-95 kt)
- Category 3 - winds 111-129 mph (96-112 kt)
- Category 4 - winds 130-156 mph (113-136 kt)
- Category 5 - winds 157 mph and up (137+ kt)
What will a tropical storm mean to Hawaii? Heavy rain (and flash flooding that comes with it - stay clear of low lying flood-prone areas, don't cross 'rivers' on the road), winds (please move patio furniture inside, stay clear of windows etc), thunder storms. Prepare for the possibility of the power being out for a few days (happens with most wind storms in Hawaii), possibly not having drinkable water. Fill up the bathtub for water to use for washing, have water for drinking, food, first aid kit, sanitation items, batteries etc. Here is a list of what to have in a hurricane preparedness kit. And watch the news. Here on Maui, watch HawaiiNewsNow. If on facebook, follow 'MauiWatch' for current up-to-date Maui news.
DO NOT GO INTO THE OCEAN. Guess what heavy rain and wind do to the ocean? It whips things around, changes currents and makes the ocean an unsafe place to be. Please do not go into the ocean. When the remnants of the last tropical storm passed through two weeks ago, a snorkel boat chose to go out anyway. Sadly one snorkeler drowned and a crew member was critically injured trying to save him. It is important for you to make the assessment for yourself. Please use common sense.
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