Hawaiian Storm Names

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Did you know that the only way for a storm to get a Hawaiian name is if it forms within the boundaries of the Central Pacific?

The Central Pacific basin includes the area north of the equator, between 140-degrees west longitude and the International Date Line. Some of the more notable storms-turned-hurricane included Iwa and Iniki; notable because of the severe damage it caused to the Hawaiian Islands.

It just so happens, however, both Hawaiian names translate into meanings with negative connotations. Iwa means thief in Hawaiian, while Iniki means to nip or pierce. Sadly, that’s what they ended up doing to some extent or another when passing through the islands.

Since then, the list of Hawaiian storm names has been updated to remove the ones with negative meanings. A report by KITV talks about how Native Hawaiian language professors worked with the NOAA in editing the list.

Like many cultures, Hawaiians believed that if you name something/someone, the meanings of those names will soon become apparent. An example of this would be if you named your child Kai; it is likely he or she will grow up with some ties to the ocean. Kai means ocean in Hawaiian.

If you’re wondering what’s next on the list, then it will be Pewa. In Hawaiian, it means lobster or shrimp tail.