Hurricane Season in Hawai’i officially starts next month and forecasters are expecting above normal activity. HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.
The National Weather Service is forecasting neutral conditions in the Central Pacific during hurricane season, June 1st thru November 30th. Robert Ballard is the Weather Service Science and Operations Officer.
“So, we’re expecting 3-6 tropical cyclones in the Central Pacific Basin for 2018 and it looks similar to last year, that we have a 40 percent chance of an above normal season, 40 percent chance of normal and a 20 percent chance of below normal. You can add those categories and, we again think, that there’s an 80 percent chance of near to above normal tropical cyclone activity in the Central Pacific.”
Ballard says hurricane forecasts are based on probabilities. He says there’s a 50-50 chance of warmer El Nino conditions at the end of hurricane season and that could increase tropical storm formations.
“If the El Nino were to set in earlier, then we would see more toward the higher end of the range, we would expect, or possibly even more. If the El Nino behaves as expected, then we would expect to be a little bit closer to normal.”
But, a hurricane is not necessary for devastating weather impacts, as witnessed during heavy rainfall and flooding in Mid-April. Senior Service Hydrologist, Kevin Kodama.
“April was the worse of them all, we had what looks like to be a record-breaking U.S. rainfall event in 24 hours at Waipa on North Kaua’i. You know, you had 20 percent of your 7-month rainfall occur in a one-day period. Flooding was record-breaking because it’s not the total amount of rain that you get, it’s the intensity that really makes a difference for flash flooding.”
Meanwhile, at the State’s Hawai’i Emergency Management Agency in Diamond Head Crater, local government representatives attended an applicant briefing for public assistance. Federal Emergency Management Agency Region 9 external affairs officer, Veronica Verde, explains.
“There was a disaster declaration for public assistance for the flooding event. So, today, we’re meeting up with local government that might have had damages for roads or bridges or if there was any emergency protective measures that were taking place. People are going to be able to see what’s actually going to be eligible and also reimbursable.”
The President approved public assistance on May 8th but did not approve individual or family assistance for damage to private property, homes or vehicles. The state estimates damages at nearly 11 million dollars for Kaua’i and 4 million for O’ahu. State Coordinating Officer, Vern Miyagi, who is a volunteer, says the state is in the process of revisiting the federal disapproval for individual reimbursements.
“The individual assistance, this is for the families and individuals. We did not get that. We are in the process of appealing that denial right now by getting more data from both counties and the state departments that were affected. So, collecting that data and we plan right now to go for an appeal. So that’s in progress right now.”
The State and FEMA team will be in Lihue, Kaua’i, Thursday. Wayne Yoshioka, HPR News.