In the evening on August 6 of 1959 hurricane Dot swept onto the island of Kauai in Hawai’i. Causing damage to Hawai’i, O’ahu and Kaui Dot seemed to honor a strange and little known distinction held by the island of Maui and it’s smaller neighbor islands of Molokai, Lanai and Kahoʻolawe. That distinction seems to be Maui’s extremely beneficent placement in the Island chain that protects us from every hurricane that rages across the calm Pacific. The damage from Dot skipped some islands jumping from The Hawai’i to Oahu and Kauai, with Maui and her neighbors suffering the least. Hawaii is laid out generally starting East South-East with the ‘Big Island’, the namesake of Hawai’i. North west of Hawai’i about are Maui, Kahoʻolawe, Lanai and Molokai. Maui is approximately 29 miles from Hawai’i at the closest points. From Oahu to Molokai is only approximately 25 miles. Kauai and Hawaiian-Only neighbor island Ni’ihau are approximately 70 miles North-West of Oahu. The entire length of the livable islands is about 374 miles. It does seem that we are geographically sheltered from natures wrath.
In 1982 the next “big one” almost hit. Hurricane Iwa (pronounced – ee wah), missed Kauai by some 25 miles to the Northwest, However it devastated Kauai and Oahu. Kauai saw waves 30 feet high with surges as far as 900 feet inland. Iwa caused $774 million in USD-2006.
In 1992 Hurricane Iniki seemed to be on a course quite clear of the islands but suddenly veered Northward directly into Kauai. Hurricane Iniki cause a massive amount of damage to Kauai and O’ahu suffered flood damage. Maui received rainfall from Iniki and though mostly spared did have several vessels swept into shore due to pounding surf and surging swells. Many people on Kauai lost their homes and businesses and were forced to rebuild.
For the most part however Maui has been hurricane free, suffering no known direct hits and very little in the way of damage from passing storms. It gives one the feeling that maybe the time is nigh. Still Maui is the safest bet in hurricane season with a proven record that seems to substantiate the idea that our beautiful island is geographically protected from these behemoths of the great sea.
Over the last few days hurricane Flossie threatened the Hawaiian isles with potential destruction. But as with the majority of storms that come this way, Flossie fell apart before doing any damage. The surfers will still be very happy.
We’re not out of season yet and usually when theres one big one, others will follow into September. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Although Maui seems to elude every storm, such is not entirely the case. In 1871 The “Kohala Cyclone” did indeed ravage the island. Records do not list Maui as being hit directly. At that time Maui suffered reasonably severe damage and it is likely that many roads were impassable by horse and buggy and that many roofs and buildings were lost or damaged. No where in Hawai’i is completely safe from storm damage and no where in the world is entirely protected from the multitude of natural forces but the weather on Maui is almost always balmy and soothing warm.
I live on the slopes of Haleakala, the majestic volcanic mountain of Maui that rises 13,000 feet from Sea Level. Up here around the 2,500 foot mark, last winters low temperature was around 47 degrees. As of August this year, it hasn’t been hotter than 80 degrees. Down in the valley, where most people live the temperature might see a low of 56 degrees in the bitterest of winter and close to 100 degrees in August. Rarely does the mercury sway far from these fair measures. Moderate temperatures and protection from storms are two of the many qualities that make Maui NO KA OI (The Best).
If you come during hurricane season to avoid the summer heat or during whale season to avoid Jack Frosts chilly grasp you can expect to enjoy moderate temperatures and sunshine. If you need an affordable and fully equipped vacation rental by the sea, consider trying out Luana Kai’s Maui Condos.