A reminder of how powerful hurricanes near Hawaii can be…
Hurricane Walaka was the second-strongest tropical cyclone to strike the central Pacific on record. It was so powerful that its’ storm surge submerged an island in the Hawaiian Islands chain.
At the one minute mark, in the below video, there is an interview with a University of Hawai’i professor who was on the former island.
You didn’t hear much about Walaka because it missed the main Hawaiian Islands. It didn’t miss East Island in the French Frigate Shoals, far to the northwest of the main Hawaiian Islands.
The island located about 550 miles from Honolulu in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, was destroyed and submerged by a storm surge from Hurricane Walaka earlier this month, which was the second-strongest tropical cyclone to strike the central Pacific on record.
East Island is important nesting grounds for threatened green sea turtles and pupping grounds for endangered monk seals.
The category 5 storm didn’t make many headlines, as it never came near a large land mass, but French Frigate Shoals took a direct hit.
Drone Footage from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa below.
Hurricane Walaka – Category 5: Hurricane Walaka was the largest Central Pacific Basin hurricane in over a decade. We didn’t hear about it because it missed Hawaii by 1,000 miles. Even though it missed by so far, the size of the hurricane and the strength serve as a warning to remain vigilant.
Hurricane Walaka is the nineteenth named storm and the eighth major hurricane of the 2018 Pacific hurricane season. The hurricane originated from over a thousand miles south-southeast of Hawaii on September 25. The National Hurricane Center tracked the disturbance for another day or so before it moved into the Central Pacific Basin. Walaka gradually strengthened, becoming a hurricane on October 1. Walaka then began to rapidly intensify, reaching Category 5 intensity by early on October 2.
If you look at the image from KHON2 you can see how large the weather system was when compared to the State of Hawaii.
It has been a busy hurricane season. The Weather Channel reports, “Two of the Three Busiest Eastern Pacific Hurricane Seasons Have Now Occurred in the Past Four Years.” Click image below for video.
NOAA – Number of Tropical Cyclones per 100 Years: It is not too late in the season for a Pacific Ocean hurricane to form.
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The Kona Rain Shadow: As we discuss why Kona gets so little rain, we will also talk about the hurricanes and tropical storms of 2018.
Three Pele-grown mountains protect Kona when weather originates from the east (and sometimes to the south): Mauna Kea at 13,803 feet, Mauna Loa at 13,679 feet and Hualalai at 8,271 feet.
Read More: Kona And The Pillars Of Pele? Record Rain in Hilo – No Rain in Kona. The Kona Rain Shadow Effect.