The Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) of the United States National Weather Service is the official body responsible for tracking and issuing tropical cyclone warnings, watches, advisories, discussions, and statements for the Central Pacific region: from the equator northward, 140°W–180°W, most significantly for Hawai‘i. It is the Regional Specialized Meteorological Center (RSMC) for tropical cyclones in this region, and in this capacity is known as RSMC Honolulu.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe, which is 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.
The National Weather Service (NWS) is an agency of the United States federal government that is tasked with providing weather forecasts, warnings of hazardous weather, and other weather-related products to organizations and the public for the purposes of protection, safety, and general information. It is a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) branch of the Department of Commerce, and is headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, within the Washington metropolitan area. The agency was known as the United States Weather Bureau from 1890 until it adopted its current name in 1970.
A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm system characterized by a low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, strong winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that produce heavy rain or squalls. Depending on its location and strength, a tropical cyclone is referred to by different names, including hurricane, typhoon, tropical storm, cyclonic storm, tropical depression, and simply cyclone. A hurricane is a tropical cyclone that occurs in the Atlantic Ocean and northeastern Pacific Ocean, and a typhoon occurs in the northwestern Pacific Ocean; in the south Pacific or Indian Ocean, comparable storms are referred to simply as "tropical cyclones" or "severe cyclonic storms".
Based in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, the CPHC is co-located with the National Weather Service's Honolulu forecast office on the campus of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. The Honolulu forecast office activates the CPHC when tropical cyclones form in, or move into, the Central Pacific region. The CPHC replaced the previous forecaster, the Joint Hurricane Warning Center, starting in the 1970 season.
The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa is a public co-educational research university as well as the flagship campus of the University of Hawaiʻi system. The school is located in Mānoa, an affluent neighborhood of Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaiʻi, United States, approximately three miles east and inland from downtown Honolulu and one mile (1.6 km) from Ala Moana and Waikīkī. The campus occupies the eastern half of the mouth of Mānoa Valley. The John A. Burns School of Medicine, part of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, is located in Kakaʻako, adjacent to the Kakaʻako Waterfront Park. The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges from the western mainland U.S. and is governed by the Hawaii State Legislature and a semi-autonomous board of regents, which in turn, hires a president to be administrator. This university campus also houses the main offices of the entire University of Hawaiʻi system.
The 1970 Pacific hurricane season began on May 15, 1970 in the east Pacific, and on June 1, 1970 in the central Pacific. It ended on November 30, 1970. These dates conventionally delimit the period of time when tropical cyclones form in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
The CPHC's area of responsibility is the Central Pacific (CP) region, which is an administrative region, not a meteorological one. It is not a tropical cyclone basin (a distinct area where cyclones form), but is still often referred to as the Central Pacific basin or Central North Pacific basin. The western edge of the area of responsibility, 180°W, is formally the antimeridian, though this coincides with the International Date Line for tropical latitudes, and thus these are often conflated. Meteorologically, this region covers the western part of the Eastern Pacific basin and the eastern part of the Western Pacific basin, though administratively the National Hurricane Center is responsible for the Eastern Pacific basin east of 140°W, and thus the Eastern Pacific region (EP) typically refers to region east of 140°W, not the whole meteorological basin. The region east of 140°W was formerly the responsibility of the Eastern Pacific Hurricane Center; like the CPHC, it took responsibility in 1970, but it is now folded into the NHC.
The International Date Line (IDL) is an imaginary line of demarcation on the surface of Earth that runs from the North Pole to the South Pole and demarcates the change of one calendar day to the next. It passes through the middle of the Pacific Ocean, roughly following the 180° line of longitude but deviating to pass around some territories and island groups.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is the division of the United States' NOAA/National Weather Service responsible for tracking and predicting tropical weather systems between the Prime Meridian and the 140th meridian west poleward to the 30th parallel north in the northeast Pacific Ocean and the 31st parallel north in the northern Atlantic Ocean. The agency, which is co-located with the Miami branch of the National Weather Service, is situated on the campus of Florida International University in University Park, Florida.
The Eastern Pacific Hurricane Center was formerly the center responsible for forecasting Pacific hurricanes in the eastern north Pacific east of 140°W. It was part of the Weather Bureau Forecast Office San Francisco and was based in Redwood City.
In this area, the hurricane season lasts from June 1 through November 30. Practically, storms may form in the Eastern Pacific region (east or west of 140°W) and move west, possibly affecting Hawai‘i, or in the Western Pacific basin and move west, possibly affecting Asia. Smaller islands may also be affected, though this region is otherwise very sparsely populated.
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The Central Pacific Hurricane Center uses traditional Hawaiian names for hurricanes that form within its regional sphere of jurisdiction. It has formed four lists of names to choose from. As soon as all the names are exhausted from the first list, it moves on to the second, then third, then fourth, then back to the first and so on. Unlike the name list in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific, the names do not start at "A" every year. Four names have been retired, Iwa of 1982, Iniki of 1992, Paka of 1997 and Ioke of 2006. They were replaced by Io (which was later changed to Iona), Iolana, Pama and Iopa respectively. The next name to be used from the list is 'Ema'.
The Hawaiian language is a Polynesian language that takes its name from Hawaiʻi, the largest island in the tropical North Pacific archipelago where it developed. Hawaiian, along with English, is an official language of the State of Hawaii. King Kamehameha III established the first Hawaiian-language constitution in 1839 and 1840.
Hurricane Iwa, taken from the Hawaiian language name for the frigatebird, was at the time the costliest hurricane to affect the state of Hawaiʻi. Iwa was the twenty-third tropical storm and the twelfth and final hurricane of the 1982 Pacific hurricane season. It developed from an active trough of low pressure near the equator on November 19. The storm moved erratically northward until becoming a hurricane on November 23 when it began accelerating to the northeast in response to strong upper-level flow from the north. Iwa passed within 25 miles of the island of Kauaʻi with peak winds of 90 mph (145 km/h) on November 23, and the next day it became extratropical to the northeast of the state.
Hurricane Iniki was the most powerful hurricane to strike the U.S. state of Hawaii in recorded history. Forming on September 5, 1992, during the strong 1990–95 El Niño, Iniki was one of eleven Central Pacific tropical cyclones during that season. It attained tropical storm status on September 8 and further intensified into a hurricane the next day. After turning north, Iniki struck the island of Kauaʻi on September 11 at peak intensity; it had winds of 145 miles per hour (233 km/h) and reached Category 4 on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane scale. It had recorded wind gusts of 225 as evidenced by an anemometer that was found blown into the forest during clean up. It was the first hurricane to hit the state since Hurricane Iwa in the 1982 season, and the first major hurricane since Hurricane Dot in 1959. Iniki dissipated on September 13 about halfway between Hawaii and Alaska.
Since the 1990s, the CPHC has used the Automated Tropical Cyclone Forecasting System to create forecasts, advisories, and their associated graphics.
The Automated Tropical Cyclone Forecasting System (ATCF) is a piece of software originally developed to run on a personal computer for the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) in 1988, and the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in 1990. ATCF remains the main piece of forecasting software used for the United States Government, including the JTWC, NHC, and Central Pacific Hurricane Center. Other tropical cyclone centers in Australia and Canada developed similar software in the 1990s. The data files with ATCF lie within three decks, known as the a-, b-, and f-decks. The a-decks include forecast information, the b-decks contain a history of center fixes at synoptic hours, and the f-decks include the various fixes made by various analysis center at various times. In the years since its introduction, it has been adapted to Unix and Linux platforms.
Tropical cyclones and subtropical cyclones are named by various warning centers to provide ease of communication between forecasters and the general public regarding forecasts, watches, and warnings. The names are intended to reduce confusion in the event of concurrent storms in the same basin. Generally once storms produce sustained wind speeds of more than 33 knots, names are assigned in order from predetermined lists depending on which basin they originate. However, standards vary from basin to basin: some tropical depressions are named in the Western Pacific, while tropical cyclones must have a significant amount of gale-force winds occurring around the centre before they are named in the Southern Hemisphere.
A Pacific hurricane is a mature tropical cyclone that develops within the eastern and central Pacific Ocean to the east of 180°W, north of the equator. For tropical cyclone warning purposes, the northern Pacific is divided into three regions: the eastern, central, and western, while the southern Pacific is divided into 2 sections, the Australian region and the southern Pacific basin between 160°E and 120°W. Identical phenomena in the western north Pacific are called typhoons. This separation between the two basins has a practical convenience, however, as tropical cyclones rarely form in the central north Pacific due to high vertical wind shear, and few cross the dateline.
A typhoon is a mature tropical cyclone that develops between 180° and 100°E in the Northern Hemisphere. This region is referred to as the Northwestern Pacific Basin, and is the most active tropical cyclone basin on Earth, accounting for almost one-third of the world's annual tropical cyclones. For organizational purposes, the northern Pacific Ocean is divided into three regions: the eastern, central, and western. The Regional Specialized Meteorological Center (RSMC) for tropical cyclone forecasts is in Japan, with other tropical cyclone warning centers for the northwest Pacific in Hawaii, the Philippines and Hong Kong. While the RSMC names each system, the main name list itself is coordinated among 18 countries that have territories threatened by typhoons each year. A hurricane is a gale-force tropical cyclone that occurs in the Atlantic Ocean or the northeastern Pacific Ocean, a typhoon occurs in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, and a tropical cyclone occurs in the South Pacific or the Indian Ocean.
A Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre is responsible for the distribution of information, advisories, and warnings regarding the specific program they have a part of, agreed by consensus at the World Meteorological Organization as part of the World Weather Watch.
Traditionally, areas of tropical cyclone formation are divided into seven basins. These include the north Atlantic Ocean, the eastern and western parts of the northern Pacific Ocean, the southwestern Pacific, the southwestern and southeastern Indian Oceans, and the northern Indian Ocean. The western Pacific is the most active and the north Indian the least active. An average of 86 tropical cyclones of tropical storm intensity form annually worldwide, with 47 reaching hurricane/typhoon strength, and 20 becoming intense tropical cyclones, super typhoons, or major hurricanes.
An invest in meteorology is a designated area of disturbed weather that is being monitored for potential tropical cyclone development. Invests are designated by three separate United States forecast centers: the National Hurricane Center, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
Hurricane Ekeka was the most intense off-season tropical cyclone on record in the northeastern Pacific basin. The first storm of the 1992 Pacific hurricane season, Ekeka developed on January 28 well to the south of Hawaii. It gradually intensified to reach major hurricane status on February 2, although it subsequently began to weaken due to unfavorable wind shear. It crossed the International Date Line as a weakened tropical storm, and shortly thereafter degraded to tropical depression status. Ekeka continued westward, passing through the Marshall Islands and later over Chuuk State, before dissipating on February 9 about 310 miles (500 km) off the north coast of Papua New Guinea. The storm did not cause any significant damage or deaths.
The 2009–10 Australian region cyclone season was a below average tropical cyclone season, with eight tropical cyclones forming compared to an average of 12. The season began on 1 November 2009 and ran through until it end on 30 April 2010. The Australian region is defined as being to south of the equator, between the 90th meridian east and 160th meridian east. Tropical cyclones in this area are monitored by five Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres (TCWC's): Jakarta, Port Moresby, Perth, Darwin, and Brisbane, each of which have the power to name a tropical cyclone. The TCWC's in Perth, Darwin, and Brisbane are run by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, who designate significant tropical lows with a number and the U suffix. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center also issues unofficial warnings for the region, designating significant tropical cyclones with the "S" suffix when they form west of 135°E, and the "P" suffix when they form east of 135°E.
The 2010–11 South Pacific cyclone season was an average tropical cyclone season, with seven tropical cyclones and five severe tropical cyclones developing during the season. The season ran from November 1, 2010 until April 30, 2011, though if any tropical cyclones had developed between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011, the official tropical cyclone year, they would have been counted towards the season's total. Within the South Pacific basin tropical cyclones were officially monitored by the Fiji Meteorological Service's Regional Specialized Meteorological Center in Nadi, Fiji, north of 25°S, and to the south the Meteorological Service of New Zealand's Tropical Cyclone Warning Center in Wellington, New Zealand. Any disturbances forming in the region were designated with a sequential number suffixed by the letter F. In addition, the United States Military's Joint Typhoon Warning Center unofficially monitored parts of the basin during the season, where any systems judged to have achieved tropical storm strength or greater received a number suffixed with the letter P. RSMC Nadi and TCWC Wellington both use the Australian Tropical Cyclone Intensity Scale, and measure wind speeds over a period of ten minutes, while the JTWC measures sustained winds over a period of one minute which can be applied to the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale. Seven named storms formed or moved into the South Pacific basin during the 2010–11 season, the strongest of which was Severe Tropical Cyclone Wilma in late January.
The practice of using names to identify tropical cyclones goes back several centuries, with storms named after places, saints or things they hit before the formal start of naming in each basin. Examples of such names are the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane and the 1938 New England hurricane. The system currently in place provides identification of tropical cyclones in a brief form that is easily understood and recognized by the public. The credit for the first usage of personal names for weather systems is given to the Queensland Government Meteorologist Clement Wragge, who named tropical cyclones and anticyclones between 1887 and 1907. This system of naming fell into disuse for several years after Wragge retired, until it was revived in the latter part of World War II for the Western Pacific. Over the following decades formal naming schemes were introduced for several tropical cyclone basins, including the North and South Atlantic, Eastern, Central, Western and Southern Pacific basins as well as the Australian region and Indian Ocean.
Tropical Storm Omeka was the latest forming Eastern Pacific named storm since reliable records began in the 1960s. The storm was part of the 2010 Pacific typhoon and hurricane season. On December 18, 2010, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) began monitoring a subtropical cyclone near the International Dateline for possible tropical cyclogenesis. Over the following two days, the system tracked southwestward, entering the Western Pacific basin. It then began to transition into a tropical cyclone. Shortly before crossing the dateline on December 20, the CPHC assessed the system to have become a tropical storm. The storm was assigned the name Omeka several hours later as it moved into the CPHC's area of responsibility – which is from 140°W to the International Dateline. Upon doing so, Omeka attained its peak intensity with winds of 60 mph (100 km/h). Later on December 20, wind shear in the region increased, causing the system to weaken. By December 21, the center of Omeka was devoid of convection and dissipated on the next day. Omeka brushed Lisianski Island with no damage.
Tropical cyclones of 2010 were spread across seven oceanic basins in their respective seasons; the strongest of these tropical cyclones was Typhoon Megi, which strengthened to a minimum barometric pressure of 885 mbar before striking the east coast of Luzon in the Philippines. Regional Specialized Meteorological Centers (RSMC) and Tropical Cyclone Warning Centers (TCWC) designated names to 70 systems worldwide, of which 46 occurred in the northern hemisphere while 21 developed in the southern hemisphere. The most active basin in 2010 was the North Atlantic, which documented 19 named systems, while the North Indian Ocean, despite only amounting to five named systems, was its basin's most active since 1998. Conversely, both the West Pacific typhoon and East Pacific hurricane seasons experienced the least number of cyclones reaching tropical storm intensity in recorded history, numbering 14 and 8, respectively. Activity across the southern hemisphere's three basins—South-West Indian, Australian, and South Pacific—was spread evenly, with each region recording seven named storms apiece. That hemisphere's strongest tropical cyclone was Cyclone Edzani, which bottomed out with a barometric pressure of 910 mbar in the South-West Indian Ocean.
Hurricane Uleki, also referred as Typhoon Uleki, was a long-lived tropical cyclone in August–September 1988 that had minimal effects on land. Originating from a disturbance in the Intertropical Convergence Zone in late-August, Uleki was identified as a tropical depression well to the southeast of Hawaii on August 28. Steady organization ensued as it moved west, becoming a tropical storm on August 30 and a hurricane on August 31. Rapid intensification took place thereafter and the storm reached its peak intensity on September 2 as a Category 3 on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale. Hurricane Hunters investigating the cyclone found peak winds of 125 mph (205 km/h) and a barometric pressure of 957 mbar. Thereafter, Uleki stalled for two days to the southwest of Hawaii, resulting in heavy surf across the state. The dangerous swells killed two people on Oahu.
The 2019–20 South Pacific cyclone season is the period of the year when most tropical cyclones form within the South Pacific Ocean to the east of 160°E. The season officially runs from November 1, 2019 to April 30, 2020, however a tropical cyclone could form at any time between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020 and would count towards the season total. During the season, tropical cyclones will be officially monitored by the Regional Specialized Meteorological Center (RSMC) in Nadi, Fiji and the Tropical Cyclone Warning Centers in Brisbane, Australia and Wellington, New Zealand. The United States Armed Forces through the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) will also monitor the basin and issue unofficial warnings for American interests. RSMC Nadi attaches a number and an F suffix to tropical disturbances that form in or move into the basin while the JTWC designates significant tropical cyclones with a number and a P suffix. RSMC Nadi, TCWC Wellington and TCWC Brisbane all use the Australian Tropical Cyclone Intensity Scale and estimate windspeeds over a period of ten minutes, while the JTWC estimated sustained winds over a 1-minute period, which are subsequently compared to the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale (SSHWS).
Hurricane Genevieve, also referred to as Typhoon Genevieve, was the fourth-most intense tropical cyclone of the North Pacific Ocean in 2014. A long-lasting system, Genevieve was the first one to track across all three northern Pacific basins since Hurricane Dora in 1999. Genevieve developed from a tropical wave into the eighth tropical storm of the 2014 Pacific hurricane season well east-southeast of Hawaii on July 25. However, increased vertical wind shear caused it to weaken into a tropical depression by the following day and degenerate into a remnant low on July 28. Late on July 29, the system regenerated into a tropical depression, but it weakened into a remnant low again on July 31, owing to vertical wind shear and dry air.
Tropical cyclones in 2015 were spread out across seven different areas called basins; the strongest of these tropical cyclones was Hurricane Patricia, which strengthened to a minimum barometric pressure of 872 mbar before striking the east coast of Colima in Mexico. 133 tropical cyclones had formed this year to date. 92 tropical cyclones had been named by either a Regional Specialized Meteorological Center (RSMC) or a Tropical Cyclone Warning Center (TCWC).
Tropical cyclones in 2014 were spread out across seven different areas called basins; the strongest of these tropical cyclones was Typhoon Vongfong, which strengthened to a minimum barometric pressure of 900 mbar before striking the east coast of Japan. 119 tropical cyclones had formed this year to date. 82 tropical cyclones had been named by either a Regional Specialized Meteorological Center (RSMC) or a Tropical Cyclone Warning Center (TCWC). The most active basin in 2014 was the Western Pacific, which documented 23 named systems, while the Eastern Pacific, despite only amounting to 22 named systems, was its basin's most active since 1992. Conversely, both the North Atlantic hurricane and North Indian Ocean cyclone seasons experienced the fewest cyclones reaching tropical storm intensity in recorded history, numbering 9 and 3, respectively. Activity across the southern hemisphere's three basins—South-West Indian, Australian, and South Pacific—was spread evenly, with each region recording seven named storms apiece.
Tropical cyclones in 2016 were spread out across seven different areas called basins; the strongest of these tropical cyclones was Cyclone Winston, which strengthened to a minimum barometric pressure of 884 mbar before striking Fiji. 137 tropical cyclones had formed this year. 84 of which had been named by either a Regional Specialized Meteorological Center (RSMC) or a Tropical Cyclone Warning Center (TCWC). The most active basin in 2016 was the Western Pacific, which documented 26 named systems.
Tropical cyclones in 2004 were spread out across seven different areas called basins; the strongest of these tropical cyclones was Cyclone Gafilo, which strengthened to a minimum barometric pressure of 895 mbar becomes the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the South-West Indian Ocean before striking the east coast of Madagascar. 130 tropical cyclones had formed this year to date. 81 tropical cyclones had been named by either a Regional Specialized Meteorological Center (RSMC) or a Tropical Cyclone Warning Center (TCWC). The most active basin in 2004 was the Western Pacific, which documented 29 named systems, while the North Atlantic, despite only amounting to 15 named systems, was its basin's hyperactive season since 1995. Conversely, both the Eastern Pacific hurricane and North Indian Ocean cyclone seasons experienced the least number of cyclones reaching tropical storm intensity in recorded history, numbering 12 and 4, respectively. Activity across the southern hemisphere's three basins—South-West Indian, Australian, and South Pacific—was spread evenly, with each region recording seven named storms apiece.