A destructive 2018 Hawaii hurricane season comes to a quiet end

A destructive 2018 Hawaii hurricane season comes to a quiet end

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii’s 2018 hurricane season was among the most destructive in years.

That’s even though a hurricane never actually made landfall in the islands.

There were a number of close calls, though, and a double landfall by a tropical storm.

In all, the Central Pacific saw six named tropical cyclones over the season, which started June 1 and ends Friday.

They were all hurricanes — one each of a Category 1 through 4 and two Category 5 strength (Hurricanes Lane and Walaka).

The Eastern Pacific, meanwhile, saw 25 tropical cyclones — a near record-breaking year.

Hurricane Lane brought flooding rain to parts of the Big Island (Image: Mia Carter)
Hurricane Lane brought flooding rain to parts of the Big Island (Image: Mia Carter)
Tropical Storm Olivia made landfall on Maui on Wednesday (and made history). (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Tropical Storm Olivia made landfall on Maui on Wednesday (and made history). (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Here's a look at the major damage to Lower Honoapiilani Highway from Tropical Storm Olivia's heavy rains. (Image: Hawaii National Guard)
Here's a look at the major damage to Lower Honoapiilani Highway from Tropical Storm Olivia's heavy rains. (Image: Hawaii National Guard)

Robert Ballard, science and operations officer at the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, said the 2018 season underscores the mantra emergency officials have been saying all year: Just because a hurricane doesn’t make a direct hit, doesn’t mean it can’t cause major damage. Hurricanes and tropical storms this year caused widespread flooding on the Big Island, Maui and Kauai, and strong winds from a hurricane were blamed on fanning a destructive blaze.

“The islands are in a zone that just gets threatened by hurricanes,” Ballard said. “As we say every year, it only takes one. We encourage people to get prepared and remain prepared."

The first hurricane this season to churn near the state was Hector in August, which brought high surf and cloudy skies.

It went on to set a record for the longest-lived hurricane to remain at a Category 3 or above while churning in the northeast Pacific. It survived at that intensity for nearly eight days.

Also in August, Hurricane Lane swung by the state — but it came much closer.

It dropped torrential rains on the Big Island, triggered flooding and landslides. As the hurricane inched closer to the state, though, wind shear began to cut it apart. The eyewall started to deteriorate about 100 miles south of Honolulu.

Hurricane Norman, in early September, also dropped heavy rains on the Big Island.

And behind it, an even greater threat came in the form of Hurricane Olivia, which made landfall on Maui and Lanai as a tropical storm.

[Also read: By virtue of its Maui landfall, Olivia is one for the history books]

The only hurricane to form in the Central Pacific over the course of the season was Hurricane Walaka, which remained far away from the main Hawaiian Islands.

But it did barrel over East Island in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, wiping it off the map. East Island was a sanctuary for Hawaiian monk seals and native birds.

In the Eastern Pacific, the latest named storm was Xavier.

To find a busier Pacific hurricane season — at least since weather tracking satellites were available starting in the 1960s — you’d have to go back to 1992. That year, there were 27 storms that originated in the Eastern and Central Pacific.

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