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NOAA expects below normal Central Pacific hurricane season

MEDIA RELEASE

NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center has announced projected climate conditions point to a below normal hurricane season in the Central Pacific basin this year. The outlook was issued at a news conference called to urge Hawaii residents to be fully prepared for the onset of the hurricane season, which begins June 1.

“It is important to pay attention to forecasts and take each tropical system seriously,” said Jim Weyman, director of NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center. “Last year we had a scare when Hurricane Felicia approached, but fortunately it dissipated before hitting the islands.”

Weyman said this year’s message is: Prepare, Watch, and Act!

“Now is the time to dust off those family emergency plans, continue to monitor conditions throughout the hurricane season, and take appropriate action when a hurricane threatens,” he said.

The seasonal hurricane outlook is produced in collaboration with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. For 2010, the outlook calls for a 70 percent chance of a below normal season, a 25 percent chance of a near normal season, and only a 5 percent chance of an above normal season.

Climate patterns similar to those expected this year have historically produced below normal activity in the central Pacific. Allowing for uncertainties, NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center expects two to three tropical cyclones in the central Pacific during the 2010 season.

An average season has four or five tropical cyclones, which includes tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes.

This outlook is based on two climate factors. The first is the ongoing low-activity era in the central Pacific, which partly reflects fewer eastern Pacific hurricanes moving into the region. The second factor is the expectation of either ENSO-neutral or La Nina conditions in the equatorial Pacific, neither of which favors tropical cyclone activity in the central Pacific. These factors have historically produced below normal seasons.

The outlook is a general guide to the overall seasonal hurricane activity and does not predict whether, where, when, or how many any of these systems will affect Hawaii. Once a tropical cyclone forms in the central Pacific or moves into the area, however, the hurricane center swings into action.

“Our hurricane specialists are ready to track any tropical cyclone, from a depression to a hurricane in the Central Pacific basin, and then provide accurate forecasts,” Weyman said.

NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center calls in additional staff meteorologists when a system forms. They continuously monitor the weather conditions, employing a dense network of satellites, land- and ocean-based sensors and aircraft reconnaissance missions operated by NOAA and its partners.

This array of data supplies the information for complex computer modeling and human expertise that serves as the basis for the hurricane center’s track and intensity forecasts that extend out five days.

— Find out more:
NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center: www.prh.noaa.gov/cphc

PROCLAMATION

As one of the most dramatic and damaging weather events that can occur in our islands, hurricanes are capable of bringing destructive winds, tornadoes, torrential rains, floods, ocean water storm surges and high surf conditions. The impact of hurricanes is often felt long after they pass. In addition to destroying homes, businesses and critical infrastructure, they can cause serious injury and, in the worst circumstances, claim lives.

Over the years, hurricanes have cost the State of Hawaii more money than any other natural disaster. Since 1959, 63 hurricanes, 49 tropical storms and 58 tropical depressions have occurred in the Central Pacific. In 1992, Hurricane Iniki produced strong winds and left a trail of death and devastation with long-term social and economic impacts. Every year, our citizens and businesses are at risk from these storms, especially during hurricane season, which runs from June to November.

While the threat hurricanes pose to lives and property cannot be eliminated, cooperation among citizens and federal, state and local officials reduces the possible impact and provides a more effective response to these storms. To review procedures and stay prepared, state and county Civil Defense agencies and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service, along with their partners, hold an annual state-wide, realistic hurricane exercise designed to prepare all agencies to effectively handle the risks associated with the coming hurricane season. Our state maintains its strong commitment to coordinate an effective emergency response and preparedness when the next hurricane strikes.

In recent years, advances in how these storms are predicted and tracked have improved the accuracy of hurricane forecasts. Our island residents and businesses must be prepared when a hurricane approaches, and can greatly improve their ability to survive and recover by developing family and business disaster plans, creating disaster supply kits and staying aware of current weather situations.

THEREFORE, I, LINDA LINGLE, Governor, and I, James R. “Duke” Aiona, Jr., Lieutenant Governor of the State of Hawaii, do hereby proclaim May 24 – 30, 2010 as HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS WEEK in Hawaii, and urge all of our citizens to use this week to make preparations to protect themselves and our communities in the event of a hurricane.

DONE at the State Capitol, in the Executive Chambers, Honolulu, State of Hawaii, this eighteenth day of May 2010.

Linda Lingle
Governor, State of Hawaii

James R. “Duke” Aiona, Jr.
Lieutenant Governor, State of Hawaii

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