We’re only two weeks away from the start of hurricane season and thanks to El Nino, Hawaii could see another active storm season this year.
The 2015 Central Pacific Hurricane Season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.
There is a good relation of El Nino years to increased hurricane activity.
The average number of tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes is about four to five per year.
But when you look at El Nino years, in some cases, the number of storms has doubled. For example:
- 1982: 10 with a direct hit from Hurricane Iwa
- 1992: 11 with a direct hit from Hurricane Iniki
We’ve gone through seasons with a high number of storms and no direct hits, such as 11 in 1994 and seven in 2009.
Then last year, which was a weak El Nino year, there were five storm systems with Tropical Storm Iselle hitting the southern tip of the Big Island.
El Nino causes warmer temperatures in the Pacific northern hemisphere and warm water makes storms spawn and survive.
Even last year with a weak El Nino, 22 systems were born in the East Pacific, the fourth highest on record.
According to the Climate Prediction Center, there is a 90-percent chance that El Nino will continue through this summer and an 80-percent chance through next year.
It won’t mean that we will get a direct hit, only that there is a higher chance of tropical cyclone formation for this hurricane season.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration meteorologists have some upgrades that will help with their forecasts.
New features added in January will increase resolution and pick up smaller features on the radar that normally aren’t seen. This will be the first time they will be used during hurricane season.
That means meteorologists can see more on their models and, in turn, lead to more accurate forecasts.
“The computer models that we use to forecast the weather can see smaller-scale features and because they can better analyze those features, it improves the long-term forecasting,” said meteorologist John Bravender. “So the increased computer resources helps to improve the computer models which will in turn lead to a better forecast.”
Bravender says the new upgrade should also help better track a storm’s path.
Forecasters say now is the time to prepare your emergency kits for this upcoming hurricane season.
The Central Pacific Hurricane Forecast will be released May 26.Click here to watch KHON2’s hurricane preparedness special “Surviving a Storm.”