June has arrived, and with it, so has Hawaii hurricane season. Hurricanes in Hawaii are rare indeed, although tropical cyclones in the Central Pacific are not. Forecasters at the NOAA say that they expect 4-7 of those potentially dangerous weather systems to form in 2023. This is not cause for alarm. It is, however, a call for awareness. The forecast is in the “near-or-above normal” range.
Hawaii visitors need not be overly timid about the threat of a hurricane, but they should be prepared for the possibility of a swirling and menacing purple blob on the radar map bearing down on our island paradise between now and the end of hurricane season. That’s officially November 30, but in our experience here at the HAT Blog, Hawaii weather doesn’t keep a tight schedule.
Hawaii hurricane season realities
Hawaii residents have been rattled by some major cyclones in recent years, with exceptionally high seas, coastal damage, and locally severe flooding caused by passing systems. But the last actual hurricane to make landfall in Hawaii was Hurricane Iniki in 1992, which demolished the island of Kauai and much of West Oahu. On Thanksgiving, even. Kauai hasn’t yet fully recovered.
That’s 30 years. Many of us here share the sentiment that, well, “we’re due”.
Hawaii hurricane season begins during Hawaii’s peak travel season, and it lasts well into the “shoulder season”, when airfare and room/rental rates dip with demand. Given the objective realities of warming seas, sea level rise, and a new El Nino climate cycle, there are some things that Hawaii visitors should consider at this time of year in 2023.
Hawaii hurricane season tips
We’ll suggest first that you look into travel insurance. Check with Aloha Bruce and our experts at Hawaii Aloha Travel about that. You don’t want to “lose money”, as we say, because of a nonrefundable plane ticket or reservation and a purple blob on the radar that dashes your hopes for an idyllic Hawaii vacation.
Next, be aware of Hawaii’s coastal flood zones and the safety and evacuation procedures at your hotel or resort. Corporately owned vacation properties will have them. Getting a “vacation rental” on the beach? Chances are, you’re on your own. Same with forest getaway rentals. Without the established procedures of hotel and resort properties, it’s on you to protect yourself and your loved ones in the event of major weather event during hurricane season.
As we see throughout the islands, and along Oahu’s North Shore and windward side in particular, coastal erosion is ongoing, increasing, and claiming homes at an alarming rate. We’re not being alarmist. This is happening. Awareness is vital. Passing cyclones often cause high seas and flooding.
Finally, be circumspect about making a quick island getaway during hurricane season. We often hear, “But it was supposed to be nice!” Remember that the weather isn’t “supposed” to do anything. The weather is simply forecasted. It does what it does, regardless of the forecast. It’s reasonable to trust the forecast. It’s unreasonable to complain when the models get it wrong. Be prepared for any eventuality.
Of course, the odds of a hurricane making landfall in Hawaii are thankfully tiny. And “shoulder season” is the best time of year to take advantage of travel deals. We encourage it, and the Hawaii Aloha Travel ohana is here to help you find the best Hawaii vacation value and advise you about what arrangements and accommodations are best suited to your needs and your safety during Hawaii hurricane season. No worries!