Tropical Cyclones Approach Hawaii

Just as the National Weather Service, NOAA, and the Pacific Hurricane Center forecasted back in May, Hawaii’s 2019 tropical cyclone season is proving to be an active one. Two large storm systems are currently bearing down on our part of the Pacific.

First up is Erick, which is expected to pass south of the Aloha State but bring significant wind, swell and rain to the islands, the Big Island in particular. Right behind that storm is Flossie, which is tracking closer to Hawaii and is also likely to bring heavy rains, high winds, and considerable storm surge. Neither are expected to remain hurricanes as the approach, but both systems may bring hazardous conditions.

This is the third time in recent years a storm in the Central Pacific has been named Flossie. This is because other so-named storms did not make landfall or cause serious damage. Such storm names are returned to the rotation of names used to identify tropical cyclones.

A hurricane from space. Courtesy NASA.

Visitors to Hawaii during hurricane season should be prepared for these severe weather and ocean events. There are a few simple ways to stay abreast of developing storms. Perhaps the most important is to be aware of evacuation procedures at your hotel or resort. These properties are required to have emergency plans in place and make them readily available to guests.

It’s also a good idea to install weather and warning related apps on your smart-devices, and get alerts and warnings sent right to them as they are issued. Our local news stations also have free apps with similar alerts and updates.

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Of course, having the latest technology at your fingertips won’t help if you fail to heed issued advisories, watches and warnings. Each year in Hawaii, rescue operations are put at risk when careless visitors put themselves in dangerous situations, seemingly without regard for their safety, or the safety of those whose job it is to save them.

When hiking, don’t cross swollen streams and rivers. Hiking in the rain is common in Hawaii and can be a fun adventure. Hiking during a severe weather warning, however, lacks common sense. Always go to beaches with lifeguards stationed and listen to them. High surf and strong currents can sweep the unsuspecting a way in the blink of an eye.

Tropical Cyclone Erick

There has been a global rise of “selfie fatalities” in recent years. Travelers seeking clicks and likes are increasingly putting themselves in situations that can get them severely injured or killed. Don’t be one of those people during severe weather and/or ocean events. The risks are not worth it.

Coastal evacuation zones are provided on the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency website. Be familiar with them.

There is often a prevailing sense in Hawaii that “it’s going to miss us”. This is usually the case. But the truth is that a severe hurricane or tropical storm hitting Hawaii isn’t a matter of “if”, but of “when”. Be prepared.