Despite recent close calls, Hawaii residents continue to prepare for hurricane eventuality

(National Weather Service Hurricane Map)

Hawaii (KHON) — With storms Madeline and Lester, the Hawaiian islands had two close calls in one week as both passed from the south and north of us, respectively. But we have three more months of this year’s hurricane season, so it’s safe to say we’re not out of the woods yet.

And forecasters say it’s only a matter of time before Hawaii is going to be directly hit by another big storm.

Chris Brenchley of the National Weather Service said there’s a noticeable trend in Pacific Ocean waters that could eventually change that.

Even though Hawaii just dodged what could’ve been a one-two punch by Mother Nature, “we’re not always going to be lucky,” said Brenchley, “and certainly we can’t count on that to be the case.”

It’s been more than two decades since Hurricane Iniki devastated Kauai, but looking ahead, the National Weather Service says the state’s luck will eventually run out.

And according to Brenchley, here’s why: “We’re surrounded by somewhat cooler waters compared to like Florida, but now the past few years, the ocean’s temperature has actually been above normal and warm enough to support a hurricane in our area.”

It’s a trend that is somewhat concerning. “The entire Pacific is showing this increase in water temperatures and that allows these hurricanes to survive further north than they used to.”

Although this hurricane season isn’t as active as 2015, there are still three months left for another major hurricane to brew in the Pacific.

“We still have a lot of time left in this hurricane season, all the way through November,” Brenchley said. “Hurricane Iwa was near Thanksgiving of 1982.”

Despite the outcomes so far from Darby, Madeline and Lester, “it’s important for people to realize these are very serious storms. They are not always going to be steered away from the islands and you need to be prepared for the eventual probability that we will get a direct hit.”

And if you don’t have one already, it’s important to have a hurricane kit ready to go just in case. Officials recommend a minimum 7-day supply of non-perishable food and a 7-day supply of water — there should be a gallon per person per day. You should also include a radio, flashlight, extra batteries and a first aid kit.

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