Jun 01, 2023

Central Pacific region expects 4 to 7 cyclones


At top, Hurricane Celia headed toward Hawaii in 2016.

CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / [email protected]

Above, Christopher Brenchley, NOAA National Weather Service-Central Pacific Hurricane Center director, talked Thursday about the El Nino-Southern Oscillation at a news conference at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Also pictured is John Bravender, a warning coordination meteorologist.


City Mill employees prepare for shoppers stocking up on hurricane supplies.

The Central Pacific Hurricane Center has predicted a near- to above-normal season for the region this year due to El Nino conditions.

The center Thursday morning said it expects four to seven tropical cyclones for the region, which includes Hawaii, for the season that begins Thursday.

Typically, the Central Pacific sees four to five tropical cyclones a year.

Christopher Brenchley, director of the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, noted that quiet seasons over the past few years, including 2022, when there was just one tropical cyclone in Hawaii, may have lulled people into a sense of complacency.

But El Nino conditions are correlated with higher-than- average tropical cyclone activity in the Central Pacific, so it is more important than ever to be prepared.

"As we’ve been reminded in seasons past and also rapidly recently with the typhoon in Guam — it only takes impact from one," he said Thursday at a news conference, "and so with an increase in activity in the basin, there's obviously going to be the potential for more threats to land."

The prediction includes a 50% chance of an above-normal season and 35% chance of a near-normal season, leaving a 15% chance of a below-normal season.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center expects El Nino conditions to develop across the Pacific this summer, resulting in above-average sea surface temperatures.

During El Nino, easterly tradewinds weaken, according to NOAA, and warmer ocean waters near the equator cause the Pacific jet stream to move south of its neutral position.

NOAA said La Nina has the opposite effect, bringing stronger-than-usual tradewinds, while colder ocean waters in the Pacific push the jet stream northward. This typically generates a greater amount of wind shear that helps to weaken tropical cyclones heading toward Hawaii.

The transition to El Nino comes after three years in a row of La Nina, according to NOAA.

Kevin Kodama, a hydrologist with the National Weather Serv­ice, said our tropical cyclone season tends to be most active during El Nino years.

Hurricane Lane, for instance, occurred during an El Nino year in the summer of 2018, bringing a record amount of rainfall — 58 inches in three days — to the state.

The torrential rainfall and strong winds brought by Hurricane Lane resulted in flash floods, mudslides and downed power lines — and caused millions of dollars in damage.

But in the summer of 2020, which was a La Nina year, Hawaii narrowly dodged the most devastating impacts of Hurricane Douglas as it passed just north of the main Hawaiian Isles.

"It was overall a quite below-average hurricane season," said Kodama, "but Douglas reminded us it doesn't matter. All it takes is that one. It's a message we’re always trying to reinforce and repeat regardless of what cycle were in — El Nino or La Nina. Prepare for the one."

Kodama also warned residents to prepare for drought to develop sometime this summer and to get progressively worse due to below-average rainfall that might continue into the next wet season.

The Central Pacific hurricane season in Hawaii runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. Tropical cyclones include tropical depressions, storms and hurricanes.

Officials urge the public to prepare for hurricane season with a family emergency plan and disaster supply kit with at least two weeks’ worth of food, water, medicine and other essentials.

Gov. Josh Green also urged residents to take these recommendations "to heart," and proclaimed this to be Hurricane Preparedness Week in Hawaii.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, Hawaii is experiencing a shortage of health care workers, and hospitals are currently full, so residents need to be "super prepared before the storms come."

U.S. Rep. Ed Case on Thursday announced a $1.5 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for Lanakila Pacific to fortify its facility and protect its reserve food supplies during severe storms.

More information on preparing for hurricanes is available at

Are you prepared?

When: June 1-Nov. 30, 2023

What: NOAA predicts a near-to-above-normal hurricane season, with 4-7 tropical cyclones.

Where: Central Pacific region

Prepare: A 14-day supply kit of food, water, other essential items, and a battery-operated radio. Develop an evacuation plan, know where shelters are located, get an insurance checkup, document possessions.

More info: Visit (click on get ready).


Hurricane season begins Thursday and continues through Nov. 30. Be prepared with a 14-day supply kit of food, water and other essential items. Also develop an evacuation plan, know where shelters are, get an insurance checkup and document possessions.

Water stored in plastic containers

One gallon per person, per day for two weeks is good. More is better.

Nonperishable food

Ready-to-eat canned goods, including meat, fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables and soup as well as juice, staples (salt, sugar, pepper, spices, etc.), energy bars, vitamins, food for infants, food for pets and favorite snacks.

Clothing and bedding

One complete change of clothes per person, diapers for babies, sturdy shoes or work boots, rain gear, blankets or sleeping bags, hat and gloves, sunglasses.

First-aid kit

Include bandages, alcohol wipes, antibiotic cream and other wound-care supplies. Add nonprescription drugs such as Ibuprofen or aspirin, antacids, ipecac or activated charcoal (to induce vomiting), laxatives or stool softeners.

Prescription medications

Include prescription medications such as insulin, heart and blood pressure medications, even an extra pair of glasses. (NOTE: Prescription medications expire and need to be rotated.)

Tools and supplies

Emergency preparedness manual, important documents (birth certificates, Social Security cards, insurance policies, etc.), paper cups, plates, plastic utensils, battery-operated radio and extra batteries, flashlight and extra batteries, cash or traveler's checks, change, manual can opener, utility knife, gloves, fire extinguisher, tent, pliers, duct tape, compass, waterproof matches, aluminum foil, plastic storage containers, signal flare, paper, pencil, sewing kit, medicine dropper, wrench, whistle, plastic sheeting, map.


Toilet paper, wet wipes, soap, liquid detergent, feminine supplies, deodorant, toothpaste or denture supplies, toothbrush, plastic garbage bags and ties, plastic bucket with tight lid, disinfectant spray, sunscreen and mosquito repellent, household bleach.

>> More information: Visit (click on "Get ready").

Source: State Department of Health

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Are you prepared? When What Where Prepare More info EMERGENCY SUPPLIES CHECKLIST Water stored in plastic containers Nonperishable food Clothing and bedding First-aid kit Prescription medications Tools and supplies Sanitation More information: