Kilo and Ignacio Just the Latest Storms in a Rare Busy Season

After a busy season in 2014 for the Central Pacific including the Hawaiian Islands, the Central Pacific has had even more storms, and there is still time remaining in the season.  To date, there has been 8 named storms that have emerged in the Central Pacific including three that crossed into the area from the Eastern Pacific:  Guillermo, Hilda, and Ignacio.

Ignacio and Kilo are currently spinning near the Hawaiian Islands.  Both storms along with Hurricane Jimena in the Eastern Pacific have done something that has never happened before in recorded history.  All three storms reached Category Four strength.  It is the first time ever that three Cat Four storms were in existence in the Pacific at the same time.  All three have looked impressive on satellite.

Of the eight storms that have emerged in the Central Pacific, five have become hurricanes, and three have reached major hurricane strength:  Hilda, Kilo, and Ignacio.  Jimena could make it 9 storms, 6 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes if it can hold up its intensity.  Much of this increased activity is attributed to a strong El Nino episode in the Pacific.  This current episode of ENSO is very close to matching the El Nino of 1997, which also produced a lot of storms in the Eastern and Central Pacific.

The 2015 Central Pacific Hurricane Season has been the most active since 2005.  The numbers posted so far have even surpassed the mark set in 2009 of seven named storms.  The last three seasons have combined to produce 19 named storms:  6 in 2013, 5 in 2014, and 8 so far in 2015.  Fortunately for Hawaii, none of these storms had a big impact other than some rain and heavy surf for the islands.  Cooler sea surface temperatures in that part of the world help protect the Hawaiian Island chain.  The last major hurricane to impact Hawaii was in 1992 with Hurricane Iniki, which slammed into the island of Kauai on September 12th as a Category Four Hurricane.

The Central Pacific Hurricane Season runs from June to November.  On the average, there are between 4 and 5 tropical cyclones per year in the CPAC.  The number of storms in a particular season range from 0 in 1979 to 11 in 1992 and 1994.  From 1971 to 2008, there were 163 tropical cyclones in the Central Pacific:  59 tropical depressions, 58 hurricanes, and 46 tropical storms.   There have only been three seasons with double digit tropical cyclones in the CPAC:  1982 (El Nino year), 1992, and 1994.  The most active month in the Central Pacific is August, which from 1971 to 2013 had 74 tropical cyclones.  July had 45 during that span, September had 37, and October had 17.