I saw a headline on HawaiiNewNow this morning that El Nino is officially over. Can it be?
What is El Nino? El Nino is a weather pattern that warms the sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. Warm sea surface temperatures increase the likelihood of storms and hurricanes. Yes, the Pacific has a hurricane season also – it lasts from June-November.
This most recent El Nino pattern started in 2014, though according to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) it didn’t fully develop. In 2014 we had around 7 named tropical storms/hurricanes pass by Hawaii. In 2015/16 we got a full-blown ‘Super-El Nino’, one of the three strongest on record. In 2015 it sent us in Hawaii 15 named storms. Honestly, as a resident it was a little stressful as one storm after the other rolled past. Several got close and we hauled in lanai furniture at our home and the four condos and buttoned down the yard. Thankfully there was no damage here in Kihei, though one of the storms in 2014 did cause some damage at Ulupalakua Ranch and knocked down 60+ palm trees at the Wailea golf courses.
While we were fortunate and the 2015 storms caused no real damage on Maui, all these storms mess with the islands’ trade wind patterns, increasing the humidity and temperature. Summer temperatures in Kihei/Wailea are typically in the high 80s with perhaps two or three days in the low 90s. In 2015 we had an unusually warm and humid summer.
So the good news is – summer of 2016 should be a calmer and less humid summer! I am excited and relieved. Yes, we may still have tropical storms and hurricanes – scientists are predicting around 5-7 but those would be spread out across the entire Pacific.
The other good news is…. there is a 70% chance a La Nina (El Nino’s cool weather twin) will follow and you’ll have a ‘real’ winter on the mainland. Don’t you hate coming to Maui on vacation when it’s warm at home? Time to start booking those Maui winter getaways before all the good condos get snapped up!!