Hurricane Douglas and Other Storms That Went Away From Hawai‘i

Dodging major destruction by just a few dozen miles feels like a win, especially in a pandemic. We checked with the experts on other close calls.
Satellite image of hurricanes
satellite image of hurricanes madeline (left) and lester (right) on aug. 29, 2016 with the islands to the left.
photo: nasa


If you were thinking that other storms have followed the path of Hurricane Douglas in Hawai‘i—threatened but moved on without major damage—you’re right. Hurricane Douglas was the closest; at one point Sunday, July 26, the eye of the storm was just about 25 miles away from Kahuku. But in the last 30 years, Robert Ballard, science and operations officer for Honolulu’s National Weather Service office, says these storms followed similar tracks but were a little farther away:

  Hurricane Lester's Path

Source: NOAA and National Weather Service


Lester, September 2016, also slowly passed northeast of the Islands as a Category 1 hurricane. It brought heavy showers and minor flooding to the Big Island and Maui and trailed just days after Madeline which also weakened.


animation of a hurricane
NOAA animation of hurricane Kilo (left), which missed the islands, and hurricanes ignacio (middle) and jimena (right) in 2015.


Ignacio, August 2015, also passed northeast of Maui and Moloka‘i as a Category 1 hurricane, causing mostly surf and muggy weather.


SEE ALSO: How do Hurricanes Get Their Names?

Hurricane Daniel's path
Photo: NOAA


Daniel, August 2000, also passed north of the islands, bringing high surf and thunderstorms but no significant flooding.


Infrared image of Hurricane Fernanda
hurricane fernanda in 1993.
photo: courtesy of Pierre Flament and university of hawai‘i School of ocean and earth science and technology’s Satellite Oceanography Laboratory (J.Firing, M.Sawyer, D. Young, B.Dousset, N.Hadley and Lance Samura)


Fernanda, August 1993, did bring heavy surf to east-facing shores across the island chain, road damage and flooding. It was also memorable as the first significant storm after Hurricane Iniki in 1992 to threaten the Islands at one point 305 miles east-northeast of the Big Island.


SEE ALSO: Hurricane Iniki: 20 Years Later


If you want to look at other historic paths, you can take a look at hurricanes across the world on NOAA’s Historical Hurricane Track website.


Hurricane season runs June through November in the Hawaiian Islands. This year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts up to six tropical storms and hurricanes in the Central Pacific.


Read more stories by Robbie Dingeman