Hurricane Iselle and Julio near the Hawaiian Islands in 2014
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
Meteorologists at the Central Pacific Hurricane Center predict 5 to 8 tropical cyclones could form in the central Pacific basin this year. It's the most since the center began holding pre-hurricane season press conferences in the early 2000's.
"All it takes is that one to cause us some major impacts and a lot of heartache and headache for people who are directly impacted," acting director Tom Evans said.
Models point to a 70 percent chance for an above normal season because El Nino is active in the Pacific. Waters are warmer all the way to South America.
"That's in place already and it's predicted to continue through 2015 and possibly strengthen," NOAA Warning Coordination Meteorologist Chris Brenchley said.
Last year the Hurricane Center predicted 4 to 7 storm systems in the central Pacific. There were five with three back-to-back -- Iselle, Julio and Ana.
"We were very fortunate that we received no direct hit except for isolated incidents," Gov. David Ige said.
Iselle damaged 250 homes on the Big Island and cut off electricity to 23,000 people. Storm watchers say now's the time to prepare your property.
"Every single-wall house in the state is very easy to retrofit and add hurricane clips," said Dennis Hwang of the UH Sea Grant Program.
As for rain, National Weather Service hydrologist Kevin Kodama said there should be above-average rainfall over Windward slopes through September. But Leeward sides will be dry so drought conditions could get worse.
Evans said the systems that form could be tropical depressions, tropical storms or hurricanes, and they're not guaranteed to follow the forecasted track.
"We put a skinny black line as they say and then we have a cone of uncertainty where that line could actually go," he said.
The busiest months for tropical cyclones are July through October. The first storm system to form or cross into the central Pacific will be named "Ela."Check out the Hawaii News Now Hurricane Center.
Make sure to download the Hawaii News Now Weather APP to track potential tropical cyclones.