Two hurricanes heading toward Hawaii

The Hawaiian Islands are bracing for the impact of not one, but two hurricanes. Hurricane Iselle is a very strong Category 1 storm as of this writing, with winds sustained at 90mph. Iselle is not expected to make a direct hit on Hawaii, but it will impact the eastern islands by Thursday night (Friday morning for us on the East Coast) with tropical storm-force wind, flooding rain, and heavy surf. Right on the heels of Iselle, Hurricane Julio is currently a weak Category 1 hurricane, with sustained winds of 75mph, but it's expected to weaken into a Tropical Storm before grazing the Hawaiian Islands on Sunday.

If you visit the National Hurricane Center's website, you'll see the advisories for Julio, along with a suite of graphics describing its forecast path, intensity, and potential impacts. But the site does not show any evidence of Iselle, even though it is a potentially dangerous storm! The NHC, which is based in Miami, covers all tropical activity in the Atlantic Ocean, and Pacific Ocean activity to 140°W longitude. But the Hawaiian Islands are further west than that; the easternmost point is at approximately 155°W and its western point is about 162°W. These islands are covered by the Central Pacific Hurricane Center. The CPHC is based in Honolulu and covers tropical activity from 140°W - 180°W (the International Date Line).

It seems to me that the CPHC does not have the same wealth of resources for tracking and forecasting tropical storms and hurricanes that the NHC has at its disposal. For instance, the interactive map at the top of the NHC's homepage is nowhere to be found on the CPHC's site. See the difference for yourself:

Forecast graphics, such as the 5-day forecast cone, probability of 50kt winds, and the new storm surge potential map are also noticeably absent. I have no idea why. Maybe it's a funding issue that I don't understand. Maybe it's because tropical systems rarely make landfall in Hawaii (neither of these storms is expected to pass directly over the islands, either). But I can't help but wonder: shouldn't all residents of the United States have the same weather resources at their disposal?


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