Things heating up this hurricane season

Ray Tanabe
Ray Tanabe

By Paul Drewes - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Get ready for a stormier hurricane season, as waters around the pacific, warm up.

And these changes could impact our island weather, for the next year.

Not only have we seen a number of tropical cyclones form in the East Pacific over the past week, the temperature of the ocean's surface is also rising. That may mean more extreme weather could be on the horizon.

While you may not have noticed warmer ocean temperatures around the islands, warmer water are spreading around the Pacific. Which are important changes as we enter an El Nino year.

"Sea surface temps are the driving factor for hurricanes. The warmer the temperatures, the more active the season in the Central Pacific is," said National Weather Service Meteorologist, Ray Tanabe.

The four most active hurricane seasons, including the years Hurricane Iniki and Ewa hit, came during El Nino cycles.

Having this warmer water doesn't mean Hawaii will be hit with a hurricane. But it does impact the strength and speed of storms that form.

"As we see warmer than normal temps, that can sustain hurricanes longer. They can also help storms form faster as they track across the Central Pacific," added Tanabe.

This El Nino is expected to peak in the fall, which is when we normally see the greatest number of powerful storms.

To remind everyone of the danger, the National Weather Service is taking their message of storm preparedness to the masses, at least the Costco masses. Encouraging everyone have an emergency plan and kit ready to go this El Nino year.

Warmer sea surface temperatures mean more than just a more active hurricane season. El Nino's effects will also impact winter weather in the islands.

"We're going to see drier conditions during the winter season," said Tanabe.

And expect bigger waves over the winter. North Pacific storms are brought closer to the islands, along with their powerful swells which hit our north and western shores.

This El Nino pattern usually means lighter winds over the winter as well, as high pressure is pushed down over the state.

The latest El Nino cycle is expected to last until next summer.