Hawaii December 27, 2016
A Terrifying, Deadly Storm Struck Hawaii In 1992 And No One Saw It Coming
While the Hawaiian Islands may be immune to select natural disasters – including blizzards and tornadoes – we still battle threats of volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and hurricanes on a regular basis. Despite the fact that warning systems were set in place, a terrible hurricane struck Kauai in September 1992, and no one realized just how much it would damage the island. Hurricane Iniki, a category four hurricane, was the deadliest storm to ever hit the Hawaiian Islands.
Born from El Nino, Hurricane Iniki traveled on a west-northwest course, continuing to strengthen along the way. The eye of the storm passed directly over the island of Kauai on September 11, 1992, and devastated the island.
The storm certainly did live up to its name; Iniki translates to “sharp and piercing winds” in Hawaiian. Winds reached speeds of up to 145 miles per hour, and caused extreme damage.
In addition to the obvious damage to non-concrete roofs, glass, power poles, and unprotected structures, the powerful storm defoliated and knocked down countless trees and shrubs, and even contributed to the erosion of Kauai’s beautiful beaches.
The hurricane resulted in six deaths, and more than $1.8 billion in damages, including the destruction of 1,400 homes.
The island of Oahu also experienced moderate damage from the hurricane.
Iniki still holds the record of being the strongest storm to ever hit Hawaii.
It is also the third costliest hurricane to hit the East/Central Pacific region, after 1982’s hurricane Paul, which killed 1,696 people in Central America, and Hurricane Manuel, the 2013 storm that devastated Mexico, causing more than $4.2 billion in damages.
Before the storm hit, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center failed to issue tropical cyclone watches and warnings 24 hours in advance, though despite the lack of proper notice, Hurricane Iniki resulted in only six deaths and more than 1,000 injured people.
Iniki knocked out power for most of the island for nearly six weeks, and communities held parties to consume the perishable foods they had in their homes at the time the storm struck. In fact, a group of Army Corps of Engineers - who had experienced massive looting during Hurricane Andrew on the eastern coast just weeks before - were shocked by the lack of violence and overall calmness on the island.
It is often rumored that Hurricane Iniki caused many chicken coops on Kauai to blow apart, resulting in a dramatic increase of wild chickens roaming the island.
Interesting Fact: The massive hurricane actually coincided with the filming of the original Jurassic Park film, which was being filmed on Kauai. Steven Spielberg was forced to alter the production schedule, and even included footage of the storm in the film’s final cut.
Did you experience the deadly Hurricane Iniki? What about
these 7 Hawaiian disasters?