Storm names Iwa and Iniki are retired
Isn't Ioke a Hawaiian name? If it is, do you know why they gave it to a hurricane as its name? I thought after two disastrous hurricanes with Hawaiian names hit us in recent years, the decision was made to no longer use Hawaiian names. I mentioned this to my son, and he said he never heard that. So maybe I dreamed it.
Answer: Hurricane Ioke -- the Hawaiian word for "Joyce" -- has come and gone, but not so the practice of giving certain storms a Hawaiian name.
Hurricanes Iwa in 1982 and Iniki in 1992 caused major damage in the islands, and their names have been retired into a hurricane Hall of Fame of sorts, or perhaps Hall of Infamy.
Retiring the names of "significant" typhoons or hurricanes is done internationally, noted Andy Nash, director of operations for the National Weather Service's Honolulu Forecasting Office.
But there is a long list of Hawaiian names ready to be placed for future storms of a certain magnitude.
A Hawaiian name is used for any tropical storm or hurricane that develops within the Central Pacific, which is that area north of the equator and between 140 degrees west longitude and the International Date Line, Nash said.
Anything less than a tropical storm -- say, a "tropical depression" -- does not qualify for a name, at least from the National Weather Service.
"If a tropical storm or hurricane comes in from the eastern Pacific, it keeps the name it was given by the Hurricane Center in Miami," Nash further explained. "Any typhoon that may come in from the west would keep the name that was given by the Japanese Meteorological Agency in Tokyo," where they have a list of Japanese, Chinese, Cambodian, Vietnamese, etc., names.
Before Ioke in August, the last time a Hawaiian name was used was in 2002, for Hurricane Huko.
Between the two, there were no storms of significance that formed in the Central Pacific.
While there were tropical storms and hurricanes that entered our territory, they started off elsewhere, such as Hurricane Daniel, which formed in the eastern Pacific in July, and Hurricane Jimena, which formed east-southeast of Hawaii in August 2003.
On average, "we get to use a Hawaiian name" once every couple of years, Nash said.
Meanwhile, although there currently is a "big, long list" of Hawaiian names to draw from, Nash said the names were developed "a long time ago."
There is talk about revamping the list, which might be done later this year, "to come up with better names," he said.
When the names were first drawn, they were divided into four lists of 12 names each.
Ioke is listed as No. 4 of the third list, followed by Kika, Lana, Maka, Neki, Oleka, Peni, Ulia and Wali.
In List 4 the names are Ana, Ela, Halola, Iune, Kimo, Loke, Malia, Niala, Oko, Pali, Ulika and Walaka.
The official hurricane season ends Nov. 30.
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