Hurricane Lane Passes By

Weather? Currently overcast, no rain, and almost no breeze. Hard to believe there is a hurricane just offshore.

The worst wind was early last night, and then no worse than a strong trade wind event. We have had much worse several times this year.

The rain gauge has not even made it to an inch of precipitation. We have had none of the torrential rain the other side of the island has experienced.

All is quiet here, no damage beyond having to pick up the usual scattered palm fronds.

The video below is the storm passing by our island over the last 38 hours. I started saving the 4km IR images as soon as the eye of Hurricane Lane entered the close range image and have assembled them into a video.

This is our closest pass so far for a hurricane. May the remainder of the season be uneventful…

Here we go again…

Maybe a little closer to us this time.

Hurricane Lane is looking to swing north just east of the island. The worst of the storm should pass through tomorrow. All of our Keck staff has been told to stay home and take care of family and property, observing is cancelled for the next two nights.

Hurricane Lane approaches the islands as seen in this 4km resolution IR image

Hurricanes all Around

The satellite views of the central Pacific are endlessly fascinating. Three major hurricanes surround the Hawaiian Islands. Social media continues to buzz, with re-posts of the imagery.

So far only minor effects in the islands… Major surf on the northern and eastern shorelines, closed beach parks, and lousy observing weather keeping the telescopes shuttered.

Central Pacific Hurricanes
Three hurricanes in the central Pacific, GOES West 4km IR image from 2Sep2015

The 2015 El Niño Event

The intensifying El Niño event in the Pacific is looking to be the strongest event of the last 50 years. Some news outlets have dubbed it the “Godzilla” El Niño.

Officially referred to as ENSO, or El Niño Southern Ocsillation, this event is a period of dramatically warm surface water temperatures that occurs across the equatorial Pacific Ocean. These events usually alternate with periods of cooler temperatures, or La Niña events, and can have dramatic effects on weather across the globe.

The immediate effects of the warming water are already being felt… Water temperatures around the islands are at least 2°C above normal, pushing our normally cool water into near bathtub temperatures. Local divers are commenting on the warm water temperatures, those who normally wear wet suits are comfortable without.

This warm water is also fueling the series of hurricanes sweeping past the islands. The storms just keep coming. It will be an interesting year!

Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly
Sea surface temperature anomaly charts for August 2015

Here we go yet again…

It looks like yet another hurricane is coming this way, the island squarely in the predicted path. The seemingly endless series of storms passing through is making the 2015 hurricane season one of the most active on record.

Ignacio is expected to become a major storm, crossing the island as a full hurricane. If that is not enough we have Jimena further out and following a similar track. No one expects that to be the end of the series either, with sea water temperatures well above normal and continuing to warm there will be further storms.

I am truly grateful we live on the leeward side of the island, sheltered from the worst of the effects of these storms. A 14,000ft mountain standing between our house and the oncoming hurricane. I do worry about our many friends who live on the other side of the island.

As the storm nears and if it becomes apparent that the island will be hit we will perform our last minute storm preparations, fill the water jugs and secure the lanai furniture. Everything else is already done, held over from the last storm, plenty of emergency supplies and propane on-hand.

Hurricane Ignacio Prediction
The predicted path of Hurricane Ignacio as of 27 Aug 2015