Looks like the first 2007 tropical cyclone is cranking up in the Eastern Pacific.
I just joined up today. I've been a Hawaii resident now for 26 years.
But before that, I lived in Miami (Coconut Grove) in the mid-to-late 70's.
Hurricanes David (which veered off towards West Palm) and Frederick, back in '79, were my wake up call about hurricanes. They were the first 2 Male named hurricanes, a practice begun in 1979.
And since I've been in Hawaii, we've endured Hurricane Iwa - Cat1 ( in '82) and, of course, Hurricane INIKI - a CAT4! in 1992, both hitting Kaua'i.
But Andrew demolished South Dade just weeks before Iniki, in '92, and it pretty much stole away the National News attention, although the destruction on Kaua'i was VERY extensive. (Try Google Iniki)
I was stunned and amazed at the destruction from Andrew in Dade county, knowing that area pretty well from my years living in the 'Grove'.
Mathison Hammock and Fairchild Gardens area are among my favorite in South Dade. How sad to see all the destruction from Andrew and Iniki !!
BUT! That same, sad devastation, and perhaps much worse, will likely be visited on O'ahu, where, of course, Honolulu is located, and most of Hawaii's population.
You see, Honolulu, and the rest of O'ahu, have never taken a direct hit by so much as a strong tropical storm, let alone a hurricane of ANY category.
And, we have a lot! of 'single-wall construction homes', a lot of older homes, some weakened over the years from termite damage, and tons of sheet metal roofs and other weakly constructed structures that would go flying, even in a 'weak' hurricane.
There was recently an article in the Honolulu Advertiser (May 22nd, 2007) relating a new model of what might happen if a Cat4 Hurricane makes landfall at Pearl Harbor.
Headline reads: 72 Dead, $25B damage if big storm hit O'ahu
For those interested, you may also visit (or bookmark) the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, (yes, we are independent from NHC in Miami), and are responsible for tracking and forcasting tropical cyclones in our area of the pacific, between 140 west and 180, the International Dateline.
www.prh.noaa.gov/hnl/cphc <-- Link to Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC)
Last year, we experienced Hurricane Ioke (Ee-Oh'-Kay), which became the most intense hurricane, EVER, to form and strengthen in the Central Pacific. Strong CAT 5 !!
http://www.prh.noaa.gov/cphc/summaries/2006.php#ioke <-- Link to I'oke
" ... I'oke set a new record for the lowest estimated surface pressure for any hurricane within the Central North Pacific. The 198 consecutive hours I'oke existed at or above category 4 intensity was the longest continuous time period at that intensity ever observed for any tropical cyclone anywhere on earth!"
But that was during an moderate El Nino event, which, as you know, tends to supress activity in the Atlantic/ Caribbean basin, but El Nino has now rapidly disappeared, so our 2007 forcast (in the CenPac) is slightly below normal, but also means, unfortunately, that the US mainland and Caribbean will likely endure a very active season where 2005 left off.
If you're a meteorology buff, I'd recommend the link to Cat 5 I'oke for the discussion.
And you're welcome to reply to my post or email me if you have anything to share.
Here's hoping that this is NOT the year for a Hawaiian Hurricane, and I can only hope and pray that any US landfalling 'canes this season are not too destructive or deadly.
'Tis the Season ... BE PREPARED !!
- Norm in Honolulu, Hawaii, (a former Coconut Grove resident)
(The Other Storm Basins Forum is for posts that discuss current activity in locations other than the Atlantic basin - post moved to a more appropriate location.)
Thanks for the info, Norm. Those of us who follow hurricanes remember Iniki, but you are also right that Andrew greatly overshadowed it. Seems amazing that the big islands have escaped major hurricanes for the most part. I am sorry to hear that people there have been lulled into a false sense of security, but the same could be said of Florida pre-Andrew. Only after that were building codes upgraded and inspections tightened. Here's hoping it doesn't take a 'Big One' to fix things there!!