This August 2007 image shows Hurricane Flossie close to Hawaii.
Fewer hurricanes expected in ‘08
Weakening La Nina conditions likely will bring calm conditions
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Three to four storms should hit the Central Pacific during the 2008 hurricane season that begins June 1, forecasters predicted yesterday.
While the estimate is slightly below the average of the typical four to five storms, experts reminded the public to remain vigilant and have a disaster kit and an evacuation plan ready.
"Just because it's a slightly below season doesn't mean we should be less prepared," said Jim Weyman, director of the Central Pacific Hurricane Center. "We need to be prepared just like if I was forecasting a lot more because we never know when that one is going to hit us."
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Forecasters advise the public to remain vigilant despite a lower-than-average number of storm systems predicted for the Central Pacific.
Here are some names to identify storm systems for the 2008 season:
In the Eastern North Pacific:
In the Central North Pacific:
Source: National Weather Service
"Just because it's a slightly below season doesn't mean we should be less prepared," said Jim Weyman, director of the Central Pacific Hurricane Center. "We need to be prepared just like if I was forecasting a lot more, because we never know when that one is going to hit us."
Experts predicted three to four systems in the Central Pacific during this year's hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, slightly lower than the four to five tropical cyclones considered normal.
La Nina, a phenomenon marked by colder-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the eastern Pacific, has weakened since February and is expected to be in the neutral range by June or July, Weyman said at a news conference yesterday at the Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Manoa. That means the temperatures are rising but are still below normal.
Typically, less storm activity is observed in the Central Pacific when La Nina is active or neutral, while more storm activity is observed during an El Nino cycle, Weyman said.
Nevertheless, officials reminded the public as part of Hurricane Preparedness Week to get ready with a disaster supply kit and evacuation plan.
At the news conference, Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona emphasized that the public needs to be proactive.
"I think in too many instances, we are reactive. In many of the emergencies that we face, it's about a couple of days before and in some instances, a day before, where we see that run on canned goods, on water, on batteries and everything else," Aiona said.
He recommended that residents purchase a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio, a basic necessity in a survival kit.
Aiona encouraged residents to donate canned foods saved from last year's hurricane supply kits to the Hawaii Foodbank to help feed more than 131,000 people that food banks across the state serve annually. KFC Hawaii restaurants on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island will serve as drop-off points in a partnership with the Hawaii Foodbank. Canned food collection will take place through the month of June.
Experts predicted two to three storm systems last year. Two systems -- Tropical Depression Cosme and Hurricane Flossie -- headed toward the islands but weakened. In Flossie, tropical storm force winds on the southern part of the Big Island as well as wave conditions of up to 20 feet around parts of the island were observed, Weyman said.
CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
The Central Pacific Hurricane Center at the University of Hawaii gave an assessment yesterday of the upcoming hurricane season. Maureen Ballard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecaster, reviewed a weather computer.
Officials dismissed a myth that Kauai is the main target of hurricanes.
"Through a number of scientific studies, we've proven that all islands are at equal risk, so all islands must be prepared," Weyman said.
To better communicate with the Civil Defense and governmental officials, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center now has teleconferencing capability provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
On the center's Web site, an experimental graphical tropical weather outlook is available to the public that provides a visual graphic of text information. To access the Central Pacific Hurricane Center's Web site, go to www.prh.noaa.gov/cphc.