The hurricanes that head
west almost always stay between 10 and 20 degrees north latitude. Most of these dissipate well before they reach Hawaii. It is really easy to avoid the ones that do pass by here. Just pay attention to the weather
reports and hang out below 10 degrees north if one is in the offing till it passes by. Make your landfall on the Big Island. Haven't had a hurricane
hit our island since before the Civil War. Even though the weather is ideal in the Hawaiian Islands, the waters directly around us aren't all that warm. Hurricanes need warm water
to propagate and maintain their strength. 20 degrees north is just about the limit for the warm water
needed to nurture them. They really like it warmer than that so most stay further south. The few that do get all the way over here usually pass at least a 100 miles south of us and begin to dissipate before reaching us. Unfortunately for Kauai
, the ones that do maintain their strength pass south of the Big Island and then can curve north before dieing out. Kauai
has been hit twice by hurricanes in the last 30 years that only sent storm surge to us. FWIW, these both occured late in the hurricane season.
We made our passage from the Tuamotus to Hilo in June. Lightwinds till about 5 degrees North and then booming trades all the way into the Big Island. Averaged 150 plus mpd once the trades kicked in.
We left San Diego
in June on our way to the Marquesas
. Followed the same protocol keeping track of tropical depressions in the Gulf of Panama
before we went below the 20 degree line. There was a developing system in the Gulf as we got to 20 degrees but it was several thousand miles away and we were averaging over 130 mpd so continued on. As luck would have it, the depression turned into a cat 3 hurricane and headed west while our winds started to drop as soon as we passed the 20 degree line and boat speed dropped to 100 mpd or less. We still made it below 10 degrees north before the storm came near and saw little effect from the storm. The hurricane went from a Cat 3 hurricane to nothing in a period of 24 hours about the same time it got to our longitude but well north of us.
This is an El Nino year so conditions may not be the same as usual. The southern hemisphere typhoons seem to get further west under these circumstances. Tahiti
doesn't seem to get any really bad weather except during El Nino conditions. IIRC, we were there at the beginning of an El Nino and had only one tropical depression pass through. The following year, after the El Nino had had time to mature, saw a number of storms hit the Societies.