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WeatherTalk: Hurricanes are rare in Hawaii

Relatively cool water and strong upper-level winds steer most hurricanes elsewhere.

Stock Image / Pixabay
Stock Image / Pixabay
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FARGO — It may come as a surprise, but Hawaii is almost never struck directly by a hurricane. Ocean temperatures are warmer west and south of the islands, and upper-level winds are often strong. These two features often steer hurricanes away. Hurricanes have impacted Hawaii on numerous occasions, though mostly as glancing blows that produced high waves.

Hurricane Iniki in 1992 — just a few weeks after Hurricane Andrew had struck Florida — approached Hawaii as a Category 4 hurricane. The eye of Iniki made landfall on the island of Kauai with sustained winds of 145 mph and remains the strongest hurricane on record to have directly struck Hawaii. Hurricane Dot in 1959 also made landfall near Kauai as a Category 1 hurricane. Usually, the strongest storms to impact Hawaii each year are Kona Storms, which are non-tropical low-pressure systems that occur in winter months.

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