Hurricane Iniki

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Iniki, ‘strong and piercing winds’, is its meaning. Growing up, my mom would often share her memories about Hurricane Iniki that took place September 11th, 1992. We lived in Mililani, Oahu; she said she had to prepare for Hurricane Iniki to the point where they filled their tubs with water to have clean drinking water. Hurricane Iniki was heading straight for Oahu just for it to go a whole different direction towards Kauai. I was one and a half at the time, my mom tells me it was so stormy that day. The wind blew so hard, and outside was so grey.

The Weather Channel, an American basic cable and satellite TV channel, has a website Weather.com. Weather.com has an article “Hawaiian Direct Hit: Hurricane Iniki Remembered”, it discusses how Hurricane Iniki was the deadliest and costliest hurricane to directly hit Hawaii. It occurred within three weeks of Hurricane Andrew that had hit southern Florida.

Physical Processes

Hurricane Iniki was a small, but very intense hurricane; classified as a minimum category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. On a Saffir-Simpson Scale, a category 4 is 130-156 mph. When Hurricane Iniki was south of Kauai, winds were estimated to be between 145 mph-175 mph wind, as it moved over Kauai, the wind miles per hour dropped to 130-160. There were some points where it’d be considered a category 5, 157 mph or higher; but the majority of the time the hurricane stayed in a category 4, it was only when there were gusts of wind that the mph would increase. In the center of the hurricane, the pressure was about 945 millibars.

Hurricane Iniki caused huge waves. Storm tides ranged between 4.5-6.3 feet higher than usual. Along the coastal areas of southern Kauai had storm waves up to 20-35 feet tall. These high levels of water meant lower levels of water in Poipu area.

At this point flooding started to occur. Pararas said “Maximum flooding begun around 3:30, as indicated by the Port Allen tide gauge, prior to the passage of the eye in the vicinity of the Port Allen area. At that time the astronomical tide was the highest and it was augmented by the reduction of the barometric pressure as the hurricane moved over the island. Superimposed on the higher elevation of the hurricane surge were the storm waves which intensified around that time as the winds were maximum and the landward component of wind friction reached its maximum value at the Lawaii Beach Resort around that time.”

Conditions Indicating Elevated Risk

Hawaii has the greatest risk of having hurricanes and associated storm surges. Even though Hawaii pose greater risks of hurricanes based on infrequent, larger scale, and weather related disaster threats; there are three hurricanes in the past that shows what could happen in the future as far hurricanes go. Even when the other islands were impacted by Hurricane Iniki, Hurricane Iwa, and Hurricane Dot, Kauai was always particularly destroyed or experienced more damage than any of the other islands. The chances of frequent hurricanes in Hawaii is still lower than the other areas of the world. Hurricanes often pass Hawaii in the south. Between the three hurricanes, Oahu did experience considerable damage, strong winds, and flooding; where Kauai experiences more damage.

This is anticipated with future hurricanes. Pararas mentions, “There is sufficient data to determine the probability of a hurricane passing near the island. A U.S, Navy study of 27 tropical storms and hurricanes during a 47-year period from 1949-1995 estimated that the probability of a tropical storm or hurricane passing within 360 nautical miles of Pearl Harbor is about 80%. The probability that a hurricane will pass much closer, or that it will make landfall, cannot be estimated in the absence of historical data. Although this probability is relatively small and cannot be quantified, the potential risk cannot be overlooked or ignored.”

It is hard to predict risks of hurricanes due to variations in what forms a hurricane and where it goes. Storm intensity, size, path, duration over water, atmospheric pressure variation, speed of translation, winds/rainfall, bathymetry of the offshore region, astronomical tides, initial water level rise, surface waves and associated wave set up and run up due to wind frictional effects are all examples of what Pararas listed as examples that has effect on how strong a hurricane is, where it goes, and the possible risks.

Damage & Loss of Life

Hurricane Iniki, in history, was the 3rd most damaging hurricane to exist. As for Hawaii itself, Iniki was the deadliest and costliest hurricane to strike. There were six deaths, which was an extremely small number of deaths. As far as in damage, 1.8 billion dollars’ worth. About 14,000 homes were affected, 1,421 destroyed, and 5,152 majorly damaged. If Iniki would’ve hit Oahu, there would’ve been a huge increase in deaths, and damage. Iniki was almost going to directly hit Oahu 24 hours before changing directions towards Kauai.

Links to Other Natural Hazards

Flooding, extremely strong storms and winds are the only links between Iniki and other Natural Hazards. Winds and storms caused most of the damages to the homes. The flood was about 20 feet deep.

Successful Mitigation

There were some successful building structures. However, there was more failure vs success. There was a team established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency Federal Insurance Administration. The purpose of this team is to observe mitigations that needs improvement by analyzing the failures.

Proposed Mitigation

On January 29th 1993, the team came up with mitigation plans to help lessen the damage, and deaths caused by a hurricane. Mitigations that they proposed are Floodplain Management & Flood Damage, Wind Damage & Wood-Frame Construction, Glazing & Transparent Structural Openings, Roofing, Building Permits & Plan Review & Inspection, Training & Education, and Repairs/Retrofits of Partially damaged and undamaged buildings. Their main concern is structure. They want their buildings to be able to withstand strong hurricanes.

Works Cited

  1. Federal Emergency Management Agency Federal Insurance Administration. “Teaming to Reduce Future Damage.” The State of Hawaii Office of Civil Defense & Kauai County. 7 Dec. 2018. https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1611-20490- 9793/fia23_complete.pdf. 7 Dec. 2018.
  2. FEMA. “FIA-23, Mitigation Assessment Team Report: Hurricane Iniki in Hawaii (1993).” FEMA. 7 Dec. 2018. https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/10850. 7 Dec. 2018.
  3. Pararas-Carayannis, George. “Hurricane Risk Assessment For The Hawaiian Islands.” Disaster Pages of Dr. George P.C. 7 Dec. 2018. http://www.drgeorgepc.com/HurricaneRiskHI.html. 7 Dec. 2018
  4. Pararas-Carayannis, George. “Hurricane Iniki in the Hawaiian Island.” Disaster Pages of Dr. George P.C.. 7 Dec. 2018. http://www.drgeorgepc.com/HurricaneIniki.html. 7 Dec. 2018.
  5. US Dept of Commerce. “Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 7 Dec. 2018. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutsshws.php. 7 Dec. 2018.
  6. Weather.com. “Hawaiian Direct Hit: Hurricane Iniki Remembered.” The Weather Channel. 7 Dec. 2018. https://weather.com/news/news/remembering-hurricane-iniki-20120911. 9 Dec. 2018.
  7. Wikipedia contributors. ‘The Weather Channel.’ Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 7 Dec. 2018. Web. 7 Dec. 2018.

Cite this paper

Hurricane Iniki. (2021, Mar 22). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/hurricane-iniki/

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