It is June, so hurricane season is officially underway in the islands. During this time, residents of Hawaiʻi are urged to prepare for potential storms and their aftermath. After experiencing three consecutive years of milder hurricane seasons, the forecast indicates a change for the upcoming season. The development of a warm water pattern known as El Niño suggests an increased likelihood of more active hurricane activity in the Pacific around Hawaiʻi. Meteorologists project an average to above-average hurricane year for the region. We were joined by James Barrow, administrator at Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA), to learn about the expectations for this hurricane season, readiness efforts undertaken by HI-EMA, and the recommended steps for Hawaiʻi residents to safeguard themselves and community.

HI-EMA has taken proactive measures to enhance preparedness and response capabilities. In light of the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, HI-EMA has launched its most aggressive training and exercise program. Collaborative efforts with county partners, non-profit organizations, military personnel, and the private sector aim to ensure a coordinated response in the event of a hurricane.

When asked about resident preparedness, James shared, “Know your hazards, where you live, work, and play, and then make a plan to protect yourself. We know the major hazards from a hurricane are wind, storm surge on the coast, and flooding from rainfall. So, for wind, consider simple improvements like hurricane clips for the roof or protective shutters, and secure items that could become airborne, like lanai furniture. Talk to your agent about flood insurance. Talk with the members of your household about what they need to ride out a storm. And it’s vital to set aside emergency supplies. Those are all good items for your supply kit, but every home will have slightly different needs. You might have pets, and then your kit should include pet food. If you take medication every day, make sure you have some extra doses in your kit, because after a hurricane, you might not be able to get a refill for a while. If you make a plan to get to “2 Weeks Ready,” you’ll be better prepared when a storm arrives.”

With the potential for an average to above-average hurricane season, it is crucial for Hawaiʻi residents to take proactive measures to protect themselves and their communities. To learn more, visit