HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii and the Central Pacific basin should expect two to four hurricanes, tropical depressions or tropical storms this year, federal forecasters said Wednesday.
The annual National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration outlook predicts there is a 60% chance of a below-average season. The Central Pacific region sees about four or five tropical cyclones on average annually.
Hurricane season in Hawaii lasts from June 1 until the end of November. August and September are historically active months.
Officials said below-average sea temperatures associated with La Nina east of Hawaii where storms form factored into this year’s prediction.
La Nina is a natural cooling of parts of the equatorial Pacific that alters weather patterns around the globe. The opposite El Nino pattern creates above average ocean temperatures and has been present during some of the most active Pacific hurricane seasons, including in 2015 when there were 16 storms in the Central Pacific basin.
The La Nina pattern has been present for several years, which is uncommon.
The last major hurricane to hit Hawaii was Hurricane Iniki in 1992, which caused extensive damage across Kauai.
In 2018, the massive and powerful Hurricane Lane made a last-minute turn and narrowly spared Oahu, Hawaii’s most populous island.
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