are my risks?
are the chances of a hurricane destroying my home?
No one knows.
We can only go on past history. Almost no one expected
a hurricane as powerful as Iniki would strike Hawaii.
The best we can guess is hurricanes in the future will
probably hit Hawaii as frequently as they have in the
past. We know that since 1950 five hurricanes or tropical
storms have caused serious damage in Hawaii. Hurricane
Nina in 1957 produced record winds in Honolulu. Hurricane
Dot did a lot of damage on Kauai in 1959. Hurricane Iwa
did extensive damage on Kauai and Oahu in 1982. Hurricane
Estelle produced very high surf on Hawaii and Maui and
floods on Oahu in 1986. Hurricane Iniki did extensive
damage on Kauai and Leeward Oahu in 1992. Since 1950,
seven other tropical storms or hurricanes could have caused
serious damage. These include Hurricane Fernanda in 1993,
Hurricane Emilia in 1994, and Hurricane Daniel in August
have the most wind-related insurance claims been on Kauai?
data for this map was compiled from various insurance
firms' homeowner policy claims from 1989 to 1999. This
is intended to serve only for a general hazard indicator
map and is not meant as a policy document.
Hawaii Hurricane Relief Fund
are the potential losses from future hurricanes on Kauai?
If a Category 1 storm as strong as Hurricane Iwa, with
winds gusting at 74 mph, strikes any of the islands in
the state, we can guess from past experience that about
12% of the houses and apartments could be destroyed or
heavily damaged and about 18% would probably experience
a Category 3 storm strikes any island with the same force
as Iniki, with winds raging at 130 mph, we can guess that
about 38% of the homes will be heavily damaged or destroyed.
An additional 40% will probably have minor damages.
following information was extrapolated from Kauai Damage
in 1982 and 1992. ($ billion in 1992)
Hawaii Coastal Hazard Mitigation Planning Project, Office
of Planning, December 1993
have strong winds been measured on Kauai?
Click to enlarge
has experienced exceptionally strong trade wind events,
winter Kona storms, and passing tropical storms and hurricanes.
Occasionally, trade winds strengthen to between 25-40
mph for several days. Strong winds associated with winter
Kona storms can reach great velocities. Passing tropical
storms and hurricanes and have been reported at over 100
winds accelerate as they descend from the mountains to
the coastal plain. In many instances, the highest recorded
gusts associated with passing storms have occurred on
the side of the island opposite the storm's approach as
winds burst in downdrafts across ridge crests from the
steep pali to the coast below.
Kauai, numerous high wind events have affected the entire
island, and many were associated with passing storms.
Hurricanes Dot (1959), Iwa (1982), and Iniki (1992) were
exceptionally damaging. Hurricane Dot packed sustained
winds of 75 mph with gusts of 165 mph as it passed directly
over Kauai. Winds and flooding led to $5.5-6 million in
agricultural losses and hundreds of houses and trees were
Iwa and Iniki both produced high waves ranging 20-30 feet
and winds over 125 mph. Although Hurricane Iwa passed
to the northwest of Kauai, the high surf it produced,
combined with a 5-6 foot storm surge, flooded 600 feet
inland in areas between Kekaha and Poipu and caused $312
million in damage. Ironically, despite the massive flooding
and wind damage to the Poipu area, redevelopment following
Iwa occurred in precisely the same location, only to be
devastated 10 years later by Hurricane Iniki. Today, these
same areas are once again densely developed.
September 11, 1992, Hurricane Iniki, the strongest and
most destructive hurricane to hit the Hawaiian Islands,
made landfall just west of Port Allen on Kauai's south
shore. Iniki's winds were sustained at 130 mph and gusts
topped 160 mph. Winds and waves destroyed 1,421 houses
and caused minor to heavy damage to some 13,000.
Fletcher, Charles, Eric Grossman, Bruce Richmond. Atlas
of Natural Hazards in the Hawaiian Coastal Zone. 2000.