How often and when were the last hurricanes to hit Maui and Hawaii?
Hawaii hurricane season for all the Hawaiian islands is from June through November, especially from July through September. Temperature and rainfall for each month of the year can be found at Maui Weather.
When were the most recent hurricanes in Hawaii?
We have had hurricane scares for decades, but nothing substantial has hit our shores for quite some time.
The most recent hurricane to hit any of the major islands of Hawaii was Hurricane Iniki (see video below), which hit the island of Kauai in September of 1992, right in the middle of Hawaii hurricane season. Maui has not been directly hit by a hurricane in over 100 years, though hurricanes and tropical storms that passed close to Maui have caused heavy rains and brief flooding several times. The most recent was in August 2018 when Hurricane Lane did not directly hit Maui but passed close enough to cause damage from strong winds and heavy rain. Tropical Storm Olivia directly hit Maui in September 2018, but it was a tropical storm and not a hurricane at that time, and mostly caused a lot of rain and some downed trees.
Most often, as cyclones come closer to Hawaii (usually the Big Island first), the combination of dry air, cooler waters, and wind shear force hurricanes to downgrade to tropical storms. In addition, hurricanes in this area tend to come from the east, moving toward the west, so a hurricane has to pass the Big Island of Hawaii in order to get to Maui. When it passes the Big Island, the large volcanic mountains there (Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa) help to break up the winds somewhat.
What about Typhoons and Cyclones?
A typhoon is a hurricane in the western half of the Pacific Ocean. Hawaii is not in the western half, so it does not get typhoons. A cyclone is a hurricane or typhoon, or a lesser storm that may develop into a hurricane or typhoon.
Do you have to worry about the Hawaii hurricane season when you plan your trip to Maui?
Considering the fact that it has been over 100 years since Maui has been hit directly by a hurricane, the chances are very slim of one occurring during your Maui vacation. There are other weather factors that require more thought. The most rain is from November through March, though you can usually avoid most of it by choosing the best area to stay in Maui. The hottest months are June through October, so you’ll want to be sure to choose an air-conditioned hotel or condo, at least during that time of year.
The only way to avoid a hurricane in Hawaii is to not be here when it happens. If there’s a threat, you might consider leaving. Even if it doesn’t hit, there’s a good chance it’ll dissipate to a nasty storm, making a Maui vacation not all that fun. If you stay, know where the closest shelters are.
See video and satellite photos below
SATELLITE IMAGE OF HAWAIIAN ISLANDS WITH CLEAR SKIES
SATELLITE PHOTO OF HAWAII HURRICANE SEASON