Hurricane Season Predicted ‘Below-Normal’
By Catherine Cluett Pactol | Editor
Weather officials are predicting a “near-or below-normal” hurricane season this year, which runs June 1 through Nov. 30. Forecasters say to expect two to five tropical cyclones — including tropical depressions, storms and hurricanes — for the 2021 Central Pacific season, and an 80 percent chance of near or below normal season. A near-normal season has four to five tropical cyclones.
“This year we will likely see less activity in the Central Pacific region compared to more active seasons,” said Matthew Rosencrans, NOAA’s lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at the Climate Prediction Center. “Less activity is predicted since ocean temperatures are likely to be near- to below average in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean where hurricanes form, and because El Niño is not present to increase the activity.”
Forecasters say this outlook is a general guide to the overall seasonal tropical cyclone activity in the Central Pacific basin, and does not predict whether, or how many, of these systems will actually affect the state.
Officials urge residents to be prepared, even though they are not predicting a high-activity season.
“As we have experienced in previous hurricane seasons, it only takes one direct hit, or even a close call, to have a major impact on daily life here in the Hawaiian Islands,” said Chris Brenchley, director of NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center. “Take time to prepare now. Make a preparedness plan so that you and your family stay healthy and safe.”
Staff at the Central Pacific Hurricane Center continuously monitor weather conditions, using satellites, land- and ocean-based sensors, and aircraft reconnaissance missions operated by NOAA and its partners to come up with models that include computer modeling combined with human expertise to track storms and create forecasts.
Officials advise Molokai residents to take a series of steps to make sure you and your ‘ohana are ready for hurricane season.
Emergency Supplies: 14-day supply of non-perishable food and water, as well as clothing, medicine, first aid, flashlights and batteries, device chargers, important documents and other essential items. Keep your car’s gas tank full and pack a go bag.
Emergency Plan: Know your hazard zone. Where do you shelter? Your place, friends, relatives, or a public shelter as a last resort. Remember triple threat (coastal waves, inland flooding and wind). Each threat by itself can prevent you from sheltering in your home.
Work on Your House: Low cost action items include clearing debris, clutter and junk from your yard and around house; conducting roof repairs with the help of professional roofers, clearing gutters, downspouts, drainage ways; maintaining your house to prevent wood rot, termite damage with proper maintenance and inspections; adding hurricane clips as a first step (generally, houses built before 1990 in Maui County)
Check your insurance coverage – hurricane and flood. These cannot be purchased during an incoming event.
Officials say don’t put masking tape on your windows, and don’t open windows during the storm, They do recommend having a new residential window installation or installing impact resistant windows, replacement windows, shutters, storm panels or plywood to help protect your windows. If you’re going the DIY route, you can get suction cups here.
For more suggestions to prepare your home for natural disasters, download the Homeowner’s Handbook to Prepare for Natural Disasters, available online as a free PDF at seagrant.soest.hawaii.edu/.
“As we continue as a whole community to battle COVID-19 in addition to the 2021 hurricane season, it is important take time to refresh mentally, and be ready for whatever impacts might come our way. A collection of individual decisions to be better prepared will increase the resiliency of Hawaii and make a safer place for us to live, work, and play,” said Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) Administrator Luke Meyers.
Visit NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center website for more info at hurricane.gov/cphc or HIEMA website, ready.hawaii.gov.