NOAA forecasters are predicting a 70% chance of above-normal tropical cyclone activity in the Central Pacific this year.
About five to eight tropical cyclones are predicted to form during hurricane season, according to Chris Brenchley, director of NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center. These include tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes.
Hurricane season in Hawai'i occurs between June 1 and November 30.
Last year, Hurricane Lane dumped up to 50 inches of rain and caused damage to parts of Hawai'i Island and Maui in August. University of Hawai‘i campuses on O‘ahu and Kaua‘i were forced to close as well.
Although Hurricane Lane did not have a direct impact on O‘ahu, Brenchley urges the public to prepare for the worst case scenario.
"The direct, or the predicted track is not necessarily 100% accurate, so rather than focusing on just exactly where we're expecting, we tell people in this white cone, or even beyond this white cone, to be prepared for possibility it unexpectedly turns and hits them," Brenchley said.
Brenchley said some factors that influence tropical cyclone formations are ocean temperatures rising and low wind shear. The state of El Niño or La Niña also correlates with above-normal tropical cyclones in the Central Pacific. This means that warmer water around the islands may fuel tropical cyclone development.
The Central Pacific had six named tropical cyclones over the season.