Maui Real Estate Blog

Preparing for Tropical Weather in Hawaii

Hawaii is abuzz as a powerful hurricane is brewing in the Eastern Pacific. Felicia is a menacing storm that could grow to a category 4 Hurricane. The Big Island and Maui are currently in the “cone of uncertainty” for Felicia. That means the current forecast has our area within the potential storm track of Felicia in the next five days.

While it may seem counter intuitive, the current path may be good news. The ocean directly to the east of Hawaii is an area of cooler waters. The cool water saps storms of the energy necessary to sustain the high winds of a major hurricane. Hawaii’s trade winds are another factor that are predicted to play a part in diminishing the storm’s intensity. We love our tradewinds in Maui in that they help keep things cool during the heat of the summer. They are also a good buffer for approaching storms in that wind shear from the trades prevents the concentration of warm air necessary for a hurricane to sustain or build in strength.

The current forecast has Felicia diminishing to a tropical storm or tropical depression by the time it reaches the Hawaiian Islands. That being said, residents of Hawaii should be taking precautions in advance of the approaching storm and keeping a close eye on the forecast. Here is a link showing updates on the projected path of the storm. Here is an in depth detailed forecast discussion for Felicia.

I thought readers some readers might appreciate additional information on preparing for hurricanes and Hawaii hurricane climatology. See the links below for more details.

Central Pacific Hurricane Center Hurricane Awareness

Red Cross 3 Tips for Hurricane Awareness via the Honolulu Advertiser

KGMB 9 News Survival Kit

Pacific Disaster Center Information on Hawaii Hurricane Season

Hurricanes in Hawaii

Update 8/6/2009 12:42 PM. I was looking at more information on Hawaii hurricanes last night and I wanted to update one of the statements I made on conditions that weaken Hurricanes coming from the due east. While the trades are a factor in the shearing of storms, there are also high level westerly winds above Hawaii that will also help to diminish the storm.

It looks like it may well be a tropical depression when it hits the Big Island sometime on Monday. It is still worth keeping a close eye on the storm’s strength and direction as it gets closer to the islands.

Update 8/08/2009 5:33 PM.It looks like this storm is sustaining its strength a little better than anticipated. The National Weather Service has now issued a Tropical Storm Watch for the Big Island and Maui.

Here is the projected path as of now:

Here is a link to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center’s Main Page for Felicia.

Based on the new forecast, island residents should be making preparations for the storm. Please use the links above for additional hurricane tips. I will continue to update this blog with additional information tomorrow and Monday.

Update 08/09/2009 10:40 AM
Felicia was downgraded to a tropical storm overnight. That being said, it still has some potential to do some damage. Maui County is currently under a few different weather advisories. We have a High Surf warning for Eastern facing shorelines. We have both a flash flood watch and a tropical storm watch in effect for all of Maui County.

Update 08/10/2009 9:08 PM
Felicia has done a little juking and jiving over the last 24 hours. It looked like it was going to head up the channel between Maui and the Big Island earlier in the day. It now appears that it will be taking a more northerly course passing just to the North of Maui (see the map just above for current track). The storm has been losing both organization and intensity as it is met by strong high level westerly winds. It will likely be a tropical depression before it makes contact with the islands. We are starting to see some enhanced trade showers around the windward areas of Maui. The heavier precipitation will likely happen after midnight. At this point in time, it looks like heavy rainfall and flash flooding are the biggest threat.

Pete Jalbert

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