Hawaii has a tropical climate archipelago. Precipitation occurs mainly on the northern and eastern sides of the islands due to the influence of the winds. The coastal areas, especially on the south and west or leeward sides, are drier. Because of the strong winds and potential for heavy rainfall, most of the tourist areas are located on the leeward sides of the islands. Hawaii receives most of its rainfall during the winter and spring months, more precisely from October till April. There is less rainfall from May through September, but higher temperatures increase the risk of hurricanes.
Temperatures range from +29° to +32°C in summer and +18° to +21°C in winter. Very rarely the temperature rises above +32 ° C or falls below +16 ° C. In the mountains, the temperature can be significantly lower, and on Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, and Haleakala it sometimes snows in the winter.
Hurricane (tropical cyclone) season in Hawaii lasts from about mid-June through November when tropical storms are most likely in the North Pacific. These storms usually originate off the coast of Mexico (especially the California Peninsula) and move west or northwest toward the islands. By the way, that was the exact Hurricane Iniki path.
Hawaii is protected by the expanse of the Pacific Ocean from direct hurricane strikes, because a hurricane loses its destructive power if it moves northward, encountering colder waters. It is believed that the geography of the most elevated islands, such as Haleakala on Maui, Mauna Loa, and Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii can protect them from cyclones. But unfortunately, one island called Kauai has been hit by hurricanes more often than other islands in the last 50 years.
Hurricane Iniki is considered to be the most destructive natural disaster to hit Hawaii (one of the U.S. states) in the history of the archipelago.
When was Hurricane Iniki? Scientists still argue about the origin of the Iniki hurricane. However, the only possible version is that it was formed as a tropical wave in Western Africa at the beginning of August. Within 10 days, the cyclone moved towards the west, passing through the northern part of South America. It went across the coast of Central America and, finally, reached the eastern Pacific Ocean.
All these events are considered to be a part of the El Niño ( a band of extremely warm water in the Pacific Ocean) of 1990 till 1995. During this season there were seven tropical cyclones, which caused almost no destruction, except one- Iniki. The cyclone Iniki formed itself on September 5, 1992. On September 8, Iniki transformed into a tropical storm. Just a few days after, it has intensified into a dreadful hurricane. The exact Hurricane Iniki date to hit the coast of Hawaii was the 11th of September. With the maximum force, Hurricane struck the island with a wind speed of 145 mph. The Hurricane Iniki category reached 4th category on the scale of Saffir-Simpson. It has passed through Kauai, and caused a huge damage to the island.
The hurricane caused huge damage to the economy of the state and destroyed most of its infrastructure. Officially stated, Iniki affected more than 15 thousand of houses. Almost 1500 homes were totally destroyed, approximately 6000 got major damage from the disaster. Fortunately, only six deaths were recorded, despite the fact, that the hurricane has left the island ruined and with no electricity. The hurricane has not stopped in Kauai, it moved forward to the neighboring Oahu island. However, Iniki lost its power and affected Oahu just with strong wind and huge waves.
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