What Hawaii travelers need to know about hurricane season

Christine Hitt

Earlier this month, Hurricane Calvin crossed into central Pacific waters headed toward Hawaii. It eventually weakened to a tropical storm and ended up passing south of the Islands, but it was the first storm in central Pacific waters for the 2023 hurricane season. 

As all the Islands readied for Calvin’s potential arrival, it became a reminder that everyone should already be prepared — and visitors should know what to do if a storm approaches during their trip.

Hawaii’s hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. This year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts more cyclone activity in the central Pacific than usual, due to it being an El Nino summer. NOAA predicts that there will be four to seven cyclones this year. 

Even though there are more storms expected this year, don’t cancel your plans. The Hawaiian Islands are small in comparison to the Pacific Ocean, so these hurricanes don’t often actually hit Hawaii. 

However, if you happen to be in Hawaii when a hurricane is heading your way, there are some things you should do to prepare. The first is to stay informed by keeping up with the local news and radio broadcasts and listening to your hotel staff. They will have the most immediate information about where to go and what to do, whether that’s staying at the hotel or going to an evacuation shelter.

When Hurricane Lane approached in 2018, the Hawaii Tourism Authority recommended that visitors shelter in place, if possible, and to have a 14-day supply of food and water. Although hotels may have supplies of their own, it wouldn’t hurt to stock up as well. Call your airline and check on the status of flights to get updates on possible delays.

Whether the hurricane makes landfall or not, Hawaii will feel some effects, depending on the severity of the storm. It’s important to stay out of the ocean as the storm can generate strong currents. I’d also strongly urge you to stay off hiking trails. Rain can trigger unexpected flash floods. This isn’t the time to keep checking off items in your itinerary.

Instead, put a pause on your plans and follow what’s happening until the storm passes.

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