Tropical Storm Calvin Plunge Hawaii » Yale Climate Links -

Tropical Storm Calvin Plunge Hawaii » Yale Climate Links

Tropical storm warnings were issued heading for the Big Island and Maui, Hawaii, Wednesday morning as the center of Tropical Storm Calvin passed just south of the Big Island. At 11 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, Calvin was located about 100 miles southwest of the southern tip of the Big Island, and was moving west at about 20 mph. Calvin’s strong winds weakened to 45 mph, down from 50 mph six hours earlier.

Widespread 24-hour rainfall amounts of 2-6 inches fell on the northeast side of the Big Island as of 10 a.m. EDT Wednesday, and Calvin is expected to bring total precipitation amounts for the Big Island storm from 4 to 8 inches, with isolated amounts up to 10 inches. Less rain affected Maui, with 1-3 of the rain falling at higher elevations. Flash floods are the main hazard from Calvin in Hawaii.

Calvin’s effect on Hawaii would be relatively short-lived. Wind shear and dry air are expected to reduce the storm to a tropical depression by Thursday morning, and Calvin is likely to dissipate by Thursday evening.

Map of Hawaii showing precipitation totals.
Figure 1. Rainfall amounts from Tropical Storm Calvin in Hawaii for a 24-hour period ending at 10 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, July 19. (Image credit: NOAA)

Calvin is the third tropical cyclone to affect the United States and its territories so far in 2023. The other hurricanes are:

  • Typhoon Mawar passed along the northern coast of Guam on May 24 as it traversed the Rota Channel as a Category 4 storm with winds of 140 mph. Mawar killed two people in Guam, and according to Gallagher Re, damage from the typhoon totaled $530 million, most of which occurred in Guam (less damage occurred in the Philippines, Taiwan, and Japan).
  • On June 2, Tropical Storm Arlene peaked with 40 mph winds in the Gulf of Mexico, then disintegrated into a post-tropical cyclone the next day. Arlene brought 2 to 6 inches of rain to Florida, which helped alleviate drought conditions. There were no reports of damage or injuries.

History of the Hawaii Hurricane

Just making landfall in Hawaii is no small feat for a tropical cyclone, and in the end Calvin was never able to find such a small target in a large ocean. Only five named systems at tropical storm strength or higher have made landfall in Hawaii:

  • Hurricane Dot reached Kauai as a Category 1 hurricane on August 6, 1959, about two weeks before Hawaii gained statehood. Dutt caused 6 indirect deaths and $6 million in damages (1959 dollars).
  • Hurricane Iniki made landfall on Kauai as a Category 4 hurricane on September 11, 1992, killing 6 and causing $1.8 billion (1992 dollars) in damage.
  • Tropical Storm Izel, which, like Darby, made landfall along the southeastern shore of the Big Island, as a 60 mph tropical storm on August 8, 2014. Izel killed one person and caused $79 million (2014 dollars) in damage.
  • Tropical Storm Darby made landfall along the southeastern shore of the Big Island of Hawaii on July 23, 2016, with sustained winds of 40 mph. Damage was minimal and there were no fatalities.
  • Tropical Storm Olivia made landfall on the north shore of both Maui and Lanai on September 12, 2018 with sustained winds of 45 mph. Olivia was blamed for $25 million ($2018 dollars) in damages.

Additionally, Post-Tropical Cyclone Linda hit Molokai on August 23, 2021 with sustained winds of 40 mph. There were no reports of injuries or damage from Linda.

As defined by the NHC, a landfall requires that the center of a tropical cyclone pass over land. Hurricanes and other tropical storms, most notably Lynn in 2018 ($250 million in damage) and Iowa in 1992 ($312 million in damage), have had significant impacts without making landfall. It’s worth noting that five out of the six landfalls now on Hawaii’s books (counting Olivia’s two) occurred in just the past 10 years. A 2016 modeling study found that we can expect a significant increase in tornadoes near Hawaii in the coming decades due to climate change; See also Jeff Masters’ August 2014 post Climate change may increase the number of Hawaii hurricanes.

Tropical Storm Dawn continues to roam the Central Atlantic Ocean

After transitioning from a subtropical depression to a tropical depression at 11 a.m. Monday, Dawn is now a tropical storm in the mid-Atlantic. At 11 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, Don experienced strong winds of 40 mph, and was moving west-southwest at 5 mph. Don is completing a 360-degree clockwise loop over the open ocean and is forecast to become a post-tropical cyclone on Monday mid-cool Atlantic waters east of Newfoundland, Canada. The Don poses no threat to any wilderness areas.

A new tropical wave to watch appeared off the coast of Africa on Wednesday, and it occurred a few hundred miles south of the Cabo Verde islands on Wednesday morning. This wave will have massive barriers to development – dry air to the north and at least moderate wind shear due to the system’s rapid forward motion – as it accelerates west at 15-20 mph over the next week. The wave has relatively weak typical support for development, and at 8 a.m. EDT the National Hurricane Center gave the 2- and 7-day probabilities of wave development as 0% and 20%, respectively.

Asia is on the lookout for 98W’s disruption

Next week’s biggest tropical cyclone threat is likely to come from disturbance 98W, located Wednesday morning in the western Pacific Ocean 500 miles east of the Philippines. Model forecasts consistently predicted that this disturbance would develop into a typhoon by early next week, with a potential threat to the Philippines, Taiwan, and/or China.

Bob Henson contributed to this post.

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