This hurricane season is on track to break a record (and it’s not over yet)

This hurricane season is on track to break a record (and it’s not over yet)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It’s been a busy hurricane season in the Pacific. So busy, it could break a record.

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

If you’re counting, 24 named storms have formed so far this season in the Eastern and Central Pacific.

If another one forms in the Eastern Pacific, it will be called Yolanda.

And that’s not outside the realm of possibility. The hurricane season in the Pacific doesn’t wrap up until Nov. 30.

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.

One of them: Iniki, which formed in the Central Pacific and slammed into Kauai as a Category 4 storm.

This year, five tropical cyclones have churned near the Aloha State, in some cases bringing major flooding.

Luckily, the likelihood of another hurricane or tropical storm tracking close to the island chain by the end of the November has dropped significantly.

Here’s why:

The two main ingredients for hurricanes are warm temperatures near the sea surface and low wind shear.

The last two weeks of October show that water temperatures throughout most the Pacific are still above normal. But the eastern portion of the Pacific, near Mexico, is finally falling below normal.

Strong vertical wind shear also makes it difficult for hurricanes to form. Vertical wind shear is a change in wind speed and direction.

Earlier in the season, conditions were more favorable for hurricane formation.


And Hawaii saw that firsthand.

In August, Hurricane Hector churned near the state, bringing 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.

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

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