Breakdown: Why it has been 26 years since a hurricane hit Hawaii

Breakdown: Why it has been 26 years since a hurricane hit Hawaii

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Although Hawaii is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it surprisingly does not receive many hurricanes. There are multiple factors that contribute to hurricanes weakening before arriving in Hawaii or completely missing the Islands all together.

A high pressure system sits to the northeast of Hawaii, which funnels in cooler and drier air. Hurricanes love moisture and warm air, so this can cause weakening. Typically, there is also cooler water near the Hawaiian Islands. Hurricanes need water temperatures of 80 degrees or above to maintain strength.

Another contributing factor is wind shear, which is changing wind speed or direction as you go up in the atmosphere. Wind shear is high in Hawaii, so hurricanes typically get torn apart as they approach the area.

Due to the climate pattern El Nino, there is abnormally warm water along the southern edge of Hawaii. This is keeping Hurricane Lane alive as it travels northwest, but the strong wind shear will still be a limiting factor. Hawaii has not experienced a direct hit from a hurricane since 1992.

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