No Hurricanes Hit Hawaii Since Iniki

Published On: Aug 05 2009 08:37:14 PM HST   Updated On: Aug 06 2009 06:11:21 AM HST

While forecasters keep watch over Hurricane Felicia as it grows in strength, it has been nearly two decades since Hawaii has seen a hurricane that caused significant damage.

It has been 17 years since Hurricane Iniki roared through the islands. In the past decade, the state has seen several hurricanes enter our neighborhood, but they caused minimal damage.

Early in August 1959, Hurricane Dot roared through the islands, making landfall on Kauai, causing several million dollars in damage.

There would not be another serious damaging storm until November 1982 when Hurricane Iwa hit the islands as a Category 1 hurricane. It moved over land at 50 mph, causing $250 million in damage. It would be the strongest hurricane to hit the islands until 10 years later when Hurricane Iniki would hit.

Iniki struck in September 1992 as a Category 4 with sustained winds of 140 mph. It caused $2 billion in damage and killed six people.

Those three hurricanes came from the south.

Historically most of the hurricane that come from the east, like Hurricane Felicia, have fizzled out when they hit an area of colder waters east of the Big Island. They include: Hurricane Daniel in 2000, Hurricane Jimena in 2003,? Hurricane Jova in 2005 and Hurricane Flossie in 2007.

Flossie gave the state the biggest scare when it came within 100 miles of the Big Island.

The storms from the east all brought wind, rain and high surf.

The exception was in 1986, Hurricane Estelle brought 10 to 20 foot waves to the Big Island and 50 knot winds. The storm destroyed five beachfront homes were destroyed. Damage was estimated at $2 million.

While you can predict storm paths, it is rarely known exactly what a storm will do. Officials say now is a good time to be prepared for emergencies.


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